Today is World Kidney Day.
I am writing a post because my mother suffered from CKD and one of the reasons she passed away was because of the complications of CKD. I am probably at risk for it, with a family history of diabetes.
Here are some facts about this scary disease.
CKD = Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD is the permanent loss of kidney function. Possible Causes: physical injury or
diseases such as diabetese or high blood pressure that damage the kidneys. When the kidneys are damaged, they do not remove wastes and extra water from the blood as well as they should.
CKD sadly, is a family affair because you may be at risk if you have a blood relative with kidney failure.
CKD is a silent condition because you may not notice any symptoms. CKD often develops so slowly that many people don’t realize they’re sick until the disease is advanced and they are rushed to the hospital for life-saving dialysis.
Are you at risk?
Those with diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of kidney failure. If any of these apply to you, get yourself checked. Here’s what you can do:
- Check blood pressure since high BP leads to kidney damage or indicates damaged kidneys. Control high BP.
- Blood – Check your Creatinine levels. When the kidneys don’t function well, creatinine builds up in the blood and shows up in your blood test.
- Urine – Kidney problem shows up when you measure albumin levels in the urine. High levels indicate kidney damage.
You doc might suggest a protein-to-creatinine or albumin-to-creatinine ratio to find out how healthy your kidneys are, particularly if you are at risk for diabetes.
Can you avoid kidney failure?
Yes. You can keep your kidneys from getting worse:
- If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose/ blood sugar.
- If you have high blood pressure, keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg.If you have high blood pressure with CKD, keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg. Consult your physician for medication.
- If you have CKD, don’t eat too much protein. Protein breaks down into the waste products the kidneys must excrete. Reducing those waste products by eating less protein means the kidneys don’t have to work so hard. But eating too little protein can lead to poor nutrition. Work with a dietitian to make sure you get the right amounts of protein and other nutrients.
How can you avoid the complications of CKD?
CKD can lead to many other health problems long before kidney failure occurs. (This is what happened to my mother)
- Anemia. Anemia develops when the kidneys fail to produce enough erythropoietin, or EPO, the hormone that directs the bones to make red blood cells. Anemia can cause heart problems.
- Bone problems. Healthy kidneys help keep your bones strong by balancing the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. CKD can lead to bone problems by throwing those minerals out of balance.
- Acidosis. The kidneys also maintain the acid/base balance in the blood. Kidney problems may lead to acidosis, a condition in which the blood is too acidic. Acidosis can disrupt body functions.
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD). Patients with CKD are more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than from kidney failure. Even a small loss of kidney function can double a person’s risk of developing CVD.
If you have CKD, get regular checkups to monitor blood levels of creatinine, urea nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, hemoglobin, and cholesterol.
If your blood tests show abnormal levels of any of these substances repeatedly, your doctor will prescribe medicines.
Work with your doctor to manage the health problems that CKD can cause. Taking charge of your health can make your kidneys last longer.
You have the power to prevent kidney failure.