Who Is At Risk For Kidney Disease
Anyone can develop kidney disease that leads to kidney failure. And anyone can end up in kidney failure after a trauma like a car accident or injury that damages the kidneys. But there are some people who have a higher risk of developing kidney disease that leads to kidney failure including people who:
Eating a healthy diet, limiting your intake of salt, and maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your risk of developing kidney problems as you get older. If you are obese losing weight is strongly recommended by doctors to prevent future kidney problems. Taking medication for a condition like hypertension can lower the risk of damaging your kidneys but you should have regular urine tests done to keep an eye on your kidney function levels.
How Can Doctors Tell If I Have Ckd
Many people with Stage 1 CKD do not have any symptoms. However, if you have a family history of kidney disease, or a health condition that can damage your kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor may test the health of your kidneys.
To find out if you have CKD, doctors will do tests, such as:
- Urine tests
- eGFR blood tests
- Blood pressure checks
- Imaging tests to take detailed pictures of the inside of your body, such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI
Urine Tests For Kidney Disease
Damaged or inflamed kidneys leak substances such as blood or protein into the urine. The preferred test for detecting protein in the urine is a urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio test, which shows the amount of albumin in the urine.
A urine ACR test should be done at least once a year if the person has diabetes or high blood pressure, and every two years if the person has any of the other identified risk factors for developing chronic kidney disease.
A urine ACR test is performed by sending a sample of your urine to a laboratory for analysis.
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How Is Chronic Kidney Disease Treated
There is no cure for chronic kidney disease , but steps may be taken in early CKD to preserve a higher level of kidney function for a longer period of time. If you have reduced kidney function:
- Make and keep your regular healthcare provider / nephrologist visits.
- Keep your blood sugar under control .
- Avoid taking painkillers and other medications that may make your kidney disease worse.
- Keep your blood pressure levels under control.
- Consult a dietitian regarding useful changes in diet. Dietary changes may include limiting protein, eating foods that reduce blood cholesterol levels, and limiting sodium and potassium intake.
- Exercise/be active on most days of the week.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
What Do The Stages Of Chronic Kidney Disease Refer To
The five stages of CKD refer to how well your kidneys are working. Kidney disease can get worse in time. In the early stages , your kidneys are still able to filter waste out of your blood. In the later stages , your kidneys must work harder to filter your blood and may stop working altogether.
The goal at each stage of CKD is to take steps to slow down the damage to your kidneys and keep your kidneys working as long as possible.
What Causes A Kidney Infection
Scientists believe that most kidney infections start as a bladder infection that moves upstream to infect one or both of your kidneys. Most often, the infection is caused by bacteria that normally live in your bowel. The urinary tract has several ways to prevent infection from moving up the urinary tract. For example, urination most often flushes out bacteria before it reaches the bladder. Sometimes your body cant fight the bacteria and the bacteria cause a UTI. If you dont get medical treatment to stop the infection, the bacteria may infect your kidneys.
In some cases, your blood can carry bacteria or viruses from another part of your body to your kidneys.
How Critical Illness Insurance Can Help You Pay For Kidney Treatment Costs
Critical illness insurance is a type of supplemental health insurance that can help you cover expenses that your primary health insurance plan doesnt cover. If you have kidney failure requiring either dialysis or a transplant, critical illness insurance pays a lump sum cash benefit directly to you after your diagnosis is verified. You can use the cash benefit to pay any bills you choose, from deductibles to groceries.
Guardian Critical Illness Achiever pays a lump sum cash benefit of $20,000 for your first occurrence of kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant and $10,000 for a recurrence. Guardian Critical Illness Core pays a lump sum cash benefit of $10,000 for your first occurrence of kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant and $5,000 for a recurrence.
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What Is Stage 1 Ckd
In Stage 1 CKD, the damage to your kidneys is mild. Your kidneys are still working well, but you may have signs of kidney damage or physical damage to your kidneys.
Stage 1 CKD means you have a normal estimated glomerular filtration rate of 90 or greater, but there is protein in your urine . The presence of protein alone means you are in Stage 1 CKD.
At stage 1 CKD, you may not notice any effects on your health. While the damage to your kidneys may not be reversible, there is a lot you can do at this stage to keep your kidneys working well for as long as possible.
Imaging Tests For Kidney Disease
Tests that create various pictures or images may include:
- x-rays to check the size of the kidneys and look for kidney stones
- cystogram a bladder x-ray
- voiding cystourethrogram where the bladder is x-rayed before and after urination
- ultrasound sound waves are bounced off the kidneys to create a picture. Ultrasound may be used to check the size of the kidneys. Kidney stones and blood vessel blockages may be visible on ultrasound
- computed tomography x-rays and digital computer technology are used to create an image of the urinary tract, including the kidneys
- magnetic resonance imaging a strong magnetic field and radio waves are used to create a three-dimensional image of the urinary tract, including the kidneys.
- radionuclide scan.
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What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Kidney Failure
Hemodialysis uses a machine filter called a dialyzer or artificial kidney to remove excess water and salt, to balance the other electrolytes in the body, and to remove waste products of metabolism. Blood is removed from the body and flows through tubing into the machine, where it passes next to a filter membrane. A specialized chemical solution flows on the other side of the membrane. The dialysate is formulated to draw impurities from the blood through the filter membrane. Blood and dialysate are never touched in the artificial kidney machine.
For this type of dialysis, access to the blood vessels needs to be surgically created so that large amounts of blood can flow into the machine and back to the body. Surgeons can build a fistula, a connection between a large artery and vein in the body, usually in the arm, that allows a large amount of blood to flow into the vein. This makes the vein swell or dilate, and its walls become thicker so that it can tolerate repeated needle sticks to attach tubing from the body to the machine. Since it takes many weeks or months for a fistula to mature enough to be used, significant planning is required if hemodialysis is to be considered as an option.
Dialysis treatments normally occur three times a week and last a few hours at a time. Most commonly, patients travel to an outpatient center to have dialysis, but home dialysis therapy is becoming an option for some.
How Can I Slow Down The Damage To My Kidneys
At Stage 1 CKD, there is a lot you can do to help keep your kidneys working well for as long as possible. Here are some healthy life changes you can make:
- Eat a kidney-friendly diet. A dietitian is a nutrition expert who can look at results from your lab tests and help you plan healthy meals and snacks you’ll want to eat your “kidney diet.”
- Be active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. This can be anything from walking or riding a bike to swimming or dancing.
- Keep a healthy weight. Talk with your doctor about what a healthy weight is for you.
- Quit smoking or using tobacco.
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Biopsy For Kidney Disease
A biopsy means that a small piece of tissue is taken for testing in a laboratory. Biopsies used in the investigation of kidney disease may include:
- kidney biopsy the doctor inserts a special needle into the back, under local anaesthesia, to obtain a small sample of kidney tissue. A kidney biopsy can confirm a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease.
- bladder biopsy the doctor inserts a thin tube into the bladder via the urethra. This allows the doctor to view the inside of the bladder and check for abnormalities. This procedure is called a cystoscopy. The doctor may take a biopsy of bladder tissue for examination in a laboratory.
Your doctor may arrange other tests, depending on the suspected cause of your kidney disorder.
Kidney Failure Treatment And Recovery
Even though kidney failure can be fatal, in most cases getting treatment as soon as you notice severe symptoms can be effective. Treating kidney failure consists of two stages: treating the immediate buildup of toxins, fluids, and waste and then figuring out the cause of the kidney failure to treat that. Often people need to stay in the hospital for a week or longer to get treatment for kidney failure. Being in the hospital allows doctors to monitor kidney health and function while they work on figuring out what caused the kidney failure and how to prevent it from happening again.
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Swelling In Your Feet Or Ankles
Minor swelling in your feet or ankles, usually referred to as edema, is not a big deal. It happens to almost everyone at some point especially if you work on your feet or have circulation problems. But if you have severe and sudden swelling in your feet or ankles thats cause for concern. That type of swelling in the extremities can be another sign that your body isnt processing liquids and filtering them the way that it should be.
What Should I Do If My Kidneys Hurt
If you have kidney pain that doesnt go away, the first thing you should do is call your healthcare provider to schedule an appointment or go to the emergency room if you have symptoms such as uncontrolled pain, severe nausea or vomiting, fevers or chills, or an inability to pee. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to ease discomfort:
- Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water will help flush bacteria from your urinary tracts. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
- Use heat. Place a heating pad on your back, abdomen or side to help reduce kidney pain.
- Take pain relievers. To ease fever or discomfort, take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
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Kidney Disease Symptoms 10 Warning Signs Your Body Is Sending You
Kidneys, the vital organs located just below the rib cage on either side of the spine, do a lot to keep the body in check. Think of your kidney as a filter. It helps eliminate waste and toxins from blood that our bodies cant process otherwise its the removal of this waste that produces urine. They regulate blood pressure, create red blood cells , and assist in keeping bones strong and healthy.
But whats alarming is that an estimated 17.2% of Indias population has chronic kidney disease , with the disease progressing to Stage 3 and beyond in nearly 6% of people, according to data from SEEK , a US-India initiative to track CKD in India.
The good news: With your doctors help, you can detect the disease earlier and even prevent it altogether. Many symptoms of kidney disease are ignored because they dont seem serious. Keep an eye out for these:
Your ankles and feet are swollen
Youre more tired, have less energy or are having trouble concentrating
A severe decrease in kidney function can lead to a buildup of toxins and impurities in the blood. This can cause people to feel tired, weak and can make it hard to concentrate.
You see blood in your urine
Healthy kidneys typically keep the blood cells in the body when filtering wastes from the blood to create urine, but when the kidneys filters have been damaged, these blood cells can start to leak out into the urine.
You have dry and itchy skin
What Do Your Kidneys Do
You have two kidneys. They are bean-shaped organs that are located toward your back, on either side of your spine, just underneath the rib cage. Each kidney is about the size of your fist.
Your kidneys have many jobs, but their main job is to filter your blood, getting rid of toxins and excess salt and water as urine. If your kidneys are damaged and dont work as they should, wastes can build up in your blood and can make you sick. Your kidneys also balance the amount of salts and minerals in your body, make hormones that control blood pressure, make red blood cells and keep your bones strong.
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Are There Stages Of Chronic Kidney Disease
Yes, there are five stages of kidney disease. The stages are based on how well your kidneys are able to do their job to filter out waste and extra fluid from your blood. The stages range from very mild to kidney failure . Healthcare providers determine the stage of your kidney function according to the glomerular filtration rate . Your GFR is a number based on the amount of creatinine, a waste product, found in your blood, along with other factors including your age, race and gender.
|Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease|
- Are African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian.
- Are over 60 years of age.
- Have a long history of taking painkillers, including over-the-counter products such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Where Can I Get Support
Renal units are usually in large teaching hospitals. They offer specialised help for you to adjust to kidney failure. The team includes your renal physician, nurses, dialysis staff and social workers. Renal units also have access to psychiatrists, psychologists and chaplains. Most also have their own patient-run organisations and support groups. You can find out about these from your renal unit staff or from Kidney Health NZ. Kidney Health NZ has patient support centres around the country for people with kidney failure. These are run by trained volunteers who have experienced kidney failure in their own families/whnau, and who offer their time to talk and share stories.
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Upset Stomach Nausea Vomiting
Why this happens:
A severe build-up of wastes in the blood can also cause nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss.
What patients said:
I had a lot of itching, and I was nauseated, throwing up all the time. I couldn’t keep anything down in my stomach.
When I got the nausea, I couldn’t eat and I had a hard time taking my blood pressure pills.
Diabetes And Kidney Disease
About 20 to 30 per cent of people with diabetes develop a type of kidney disease called diabetic nephropathy. This is a serious disease and may worsen other diabetic complications such as nerve and eye damage, as well as increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diabetic nephropathy is the main cause of kidney failure .
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High Blood Pressure And Kidney Disease
High blood pressure is increased pressure inside the arteries that carry blood from your heart to all parts of your body. Untreated, high blood pressure can damage your kidneys.
Also, high blood pressure can develop as a result of kidney disease or renal artery stenosis . Your kidneys control the amount of fluid in your blood vessels and produce a hormone called renin that helps to control blood pressure.
Kidney Failure Urine Color
The color of your urine is a small window into your bodys health. It doesnt tell you much about the state of your kidney function until damage to the kidneys has progressed.
Still, urine color changes may be a warning sign of some issues.
- Clear or pale yellow.Clear or pale yellow urine indicates youre well hydrated. This is the ideal color in most cases.
- Dark yellow or amber. You may be dehydrated. Try drinking more water and cutting down on dark sodas, tea, or coffee.
- Orange. This could be a sign of dehydration, or it might be a sign of bile in your bloodstream. Kidney disease doesnt typically cause this.
- Pink or red. Urine with a pink tint or a bit of red could have blood in it. It could also be caused by certain foods, like beets or strawberries. A quick urine test can tell the difference.
- Foamy. Urine with excess bubbles is a sign that it likely has a lot of protein in it. Protein in urine is a sign of kidney disease.
Urine color can raise flags for potential problems. Learn about the common color causes and whats most likely to affect the shade of your pee.
People who are most at risk usually have one or more of the following.
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