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Chronic Kidney Disease- Symptoms, Causes, Stages and Treatments

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD is also known as chronic renal failure is a fatal disease in which the person affected by it loses his or her kidney functionality with time.

When a person gets affected by it, toxins like serum creatinine and urea builds up in the body. If you have CKD stage 1, chances are that you might not notice it. This happens because it destroys the nephrons slowly and silently without giving you a hint. By the time it is diagnosed you might even have reached stage 5. This is what happened to my father.

When the kidney disease gets severe, it causes kidney failure and dialysis or kidney transplant are the only treatments then.

Only people suffering from Chronic kidney disease knows the catastrophe it can cause in somebody’s life. It can also lead to several other complications, like anemia.

What Causes Chronic Kidney Disease or Chronic Renal Failure?

There are different reasons which lead to this deadly disease, but according to studies conducted by different institutions, there are some causes which can be considered the root cause for chronic kidney disease. Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Glomerular diseases are the three main reasons. Also if your family has had people with kidney disease, you might inherit it from your family.

1 High Blood Pressure: High Blood Pressure also known as Hypertension is a deceiving disease. We never get to know if someone has hypertension because it can only be measured by the systolic and diastolic numbers.

The systolic is the upper reading and the diastolic is the lower reading. Now for many years, it has been believed that high blood pressure occurred in people who had systolic: diastolic reading as 140:90 or above. But recent studies have shown that even people with a reading of 120:80 can have to have high blood pressure (pre-hypertension). It is safe to have your numbers under check every day at home and take the necessary measures to fight hypertension.

2 Diabetes: As we know there are two major types of diabetes. Diabetes 1 and diabetes 2. In diabetes 1 the body cannot produce enough insulin, whereas in type 2 the body produces insulin but cannot utilise it.

Insulin is responsible for carrying sugar from our food to our cells, but when you have diabetes, insulin stops working the way it should and the blood sugar remains in the bloodstream, resulting in the destruction of small blood vessels in the kidneys.

The damage of the tiny blood vessels of the kidney filters caused by the blood sugar leads to chronic kidney disease.

Type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed easily because of the symptoms it shows like excessive weight loss, the extreme frequency of urination. Whereas type 2 remains unnoticed for a long time span.

However, there is hope. If diabetes is diagnosed at an early stage, the risk of kidney damage can be reduced by proper diet and medication. I being a student of dietetics know how a keto diet can help reduce the risk of diabetes.

It is always wise to keep track of the blood sugar to stop this hideous disease from progressing.

Are there any symptoms of chronic kidney disease?

A study published by BMC Nephrology suggests that patients of all CKD stages experience some symptoms. These symptoms tend to develop over time with the progression of the disease.

1 Swelling of arms and legs

2 Nausea

3 Vomiting

4 Loss of appetite

5 Difficulty in breathing

6 Chest pain (when fluid gets accumulated around the heart)

If you or anybody you care for experience any of these symptoms please pay a visit to a nephrologist.

What are the tests to diagnose CKD?

In its early stages CKD manages to remain asymptomatic. But there are some tests which help to diagnose the disease at early stages. If the disease is somehow diagnosed in an early stage then chances of progression of the disease become minimum.

When you visit a nephrologist, you will be asked to take some of these tests.

1 Routine Kidney Blood Test/ e-GFR

2 Urine Tests for albuminuria/haematuria/proteinuria – may be routine 

3 Renal Imaging or Renal Scan- In general, renal disease can be diagnosed during screening for other problems, for example, ultra sonography for suspected gallstones can coincidentally help in diagnosing CKD.

What are the different stages of Chronic Kidney Disease?

By now you know that the function of the kidney does not get low overnight, and it takes years for it to become deadly. So changes in diet and incorporating HIIT sessions in your routine can bring fruitful results and you can slow the progression and in some cases even reverse the disease.

I have written a post on HIIT exercises which if incorporated in your workout routine will reduce the root causes like diabetes and hypertension. You might want to have a look at it.

9 Amazing HIIT Workouts

The National Kidney Foundation has divided the Chronic kidney disease into five stages.

1. Stage 1 CKD: If you are diagnosed with stage 1 CKD, there is no need to panic, but make changes in diet and lifestyle to stop the disease from progressing.

2. Stage 2 CKD : If you are diagnosed with CKD stage 2, your test results will show a decrease in e-GFR numbers. But again the progression of the disease can be lowered and you can live healthier for a longer time.

3. Stage 3A & 3B CKD : If you are diagnosed with stage 3 CKD, you will be asked by your doctor to visit a dietitian. And I am asking you to take the advice and make changes in your diet because by now your body has started building and storing serum creatinine and urea.

4. stage 4 CKD : When you have been diagnosed with stage 4 CKD, it is then you will be advised by your nephrologist to undergo dialysis. If your kidney disease was not diagnosed at an earlier stage and you were not able to change your diet as prescribed by your dietitian, you will start experiencing swollen arms and legs and other complications.

5. Stage 5 CKD : At this stage, your kidney has almost stopped functioning. If you are not undergoing dialysis thrice a week, you will have to suffer severe complications like anemia, stroke, and paralysis. This stage of CKD is called End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). If your serum creatinine, potassium, and urea are not lowered by dialysis then you may have a heart attack and these are only a few of the complications ESRD brings with it.

My father’s was diagnosed with ESRD only when he had a stroke. He was lucky enough to make it through. But not many do. I did all I could to find a cure. It was disheartening for me to know that there is no cure for ESRD. But I never gave up on searching for something to slow the progression. And my search was made more arduous by those numerous scams out there who self proclaim that their methods would cure the kidneys. It doesn’t do any good. Finally, I did find something which was able to keep my father from undergoing dialysis for over 18 months even when he was diagnosed with ESRD.

Just because you have made it till here, I want you too to know about this incredible book on Amazon which helped to keep my father away from dialysis for such a long period even with stage 5 CKD.

Different treatment options

The different options of treatment again depends upon the functionality of the kidney left

1. Medications to treat anemia 

2. Diet modifications

3. Dialysis ( Peritoneal or Hemodialysis)

4. Kidney Transplantation

Hope this post provided value and you people learned about Chronic Kidney Disease. If you were recently diagnosed with CKD and you are not feeling very well, I’d just let you know that if your treatment and diet is to the point, you are going to live a longer and healthier life.

I’d say we are at war against this life threatening disease, and in no circumstance are we gonna let it take over our lives. We will do our best to fight it. If you liked the post share it, to others who might find it beneficial. Thank You for reading. Stay Healthy, wealthy and wise ….Dreamers!

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Written By

Hi, I'm Pankaj Sinha, Co-founder of trashcandreams.tv which discusses everything related to health and fitness and sometimes things related to science. I am from NE, India. I hold a bachelor's degree in Chemistry and these days I am pursuing my masters in Nutrition and Dietetics. I am also pursuing my personal trainer certification. Learn more about me in the about us section.

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