Chronic kidney disease is a significant health concern in the United States, as it affects 15% of all adults. What’s more worrisome is this: the majority of people who have kidney disease aren’t aware of the problem until their kidneys are significantly damaged. Dr. Alkeshkumar Patel at Citrus Medical Clinic encourages you to get routine examinations so he can screen for chronic kidney disease and help you make changes to protect your health. Call one of his offices in Chandler or Safford, Arizona, or book an appointment online for a health evaluation.
Chronic kidney disease refers to the gradual loss of kidney function over time due to kidney damage. The damage can be caused by injury or toxins, but it’s most often due to chronic diseases that harm blood vessels inside the kidneys. Once these vessels are destroyed, it’s impossible for your kidneys to work properly.
When your kidneys are injured, they can’t filter excess water and wastes out of your blood or produce the hormones needed to control blood pressure. They also lose the ability to synthesize red blood cells and regulate the amount of sodium, potassium, and calcium in your blood. The loss of these vital functions causes health problems throughout your body.
You risk of chronic kidney disease increases if you have:
Diabetes is the top cause of chronic kidney disease because high blood sugar damages blood vessels in your kidneys. Nearly one in three patients with diabetes have chronic kidney disease.
This is the second leading cause – about one in five adults with hypertension has chronic kidney disease.
If you have heart disease you’re at risk for kidney disease. Likewise, patients with kidney disease have a higher chance of heart disease.
Your kidneys can keep working for a long time even when they’re damaged, which is why you may not develop symptoms until the disease has progressed to cause significant health problems.
Edema, or swelling of your legs, feet or ankles, is the earliest sign of chronic kidney disease. As the condition worsens, you may experience:
Untreated kidney disease may lead to anemia, bone disease, and malnutrition.
The damage to your kidneys is permanent, so treatment focuses on controlling symptoms, slowing disease progression, and reducing complications. Steps to accomplish these goals include:
Many patients don’t need dialysis, but if your disease worsens and your kidneys begin to fail, Dr. Patel can coordinate dialysis.