What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects more than 20 million people in the United States. The prevalence of the disease among American adults has risen from 10% in the period 1988-1994 to 13.1% in the period 1999-2004. This is according to the 2007 article, "Prevalence of Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States," that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

CKD is an expensive disease. Medical costs are expected to reach $28 billion yearly by 2010. This is in addition to the $90 billion annual costs associated with other infections and illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.

Causes of CDK

Any condition that damages kidney structures, especially blood vessels, can result in CKD. Hypertension and diabetes are two of the most common causes of this disease.

It is estimated that 35% of all CKD are caused by diabetes. Very high sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys can gradually reduce the function of your kidneys.

High blood pressure accounts for 30% of all causes of CKD. Since blood pressure usually rises with this disease, hypertension may bring further damage to kidney function even if CKD is initially caused by other medical conditions.

Other risk factors for CKD include: lead poisoning, a blocked or narrowed renal artery, kidney stones, and an enlarged prostate gland.

Frequent use of acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, celecoxib (Celebrex), and ibuprofen (Advil) can cause CKD. You’re likely to have the disease if you have a history of glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, or polycystic kidney disease.

Symptoms of CDK

Symptoms of CKD include fatigue and weakness, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, frequent urination especially at night, puffiness around the eyes, swelling of the legs, erectile dysfunction, and decreased sexual interest.

Other symptoms include peripheral neuropathy (numbness in the hands or feet), restless legs syndrome, chest pain, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, altered mental status, and disturbed sleep.

How CDK is diagnosed?

Lab tests can detect the development of CKD. Blood, urine, and imaging (x-rays) tests are performed to diagnose this disease and to follow its development.

Each of these tests has some limitations that’s why they are usually used together to have a general picture of the extent and nature of disease.

How to treat CDK?

The goal of CKD treatment is to halt or slow down the development of the disease to stage 5. Renal therapy is performed if you reach this stage. The treatment is in the form of either a transplant or dialysis.

In many cases, dietary modifications can slow down or reverse further development. In general, this includes moderating a person’s consumption of animal protein.