Chronic kidney disease (CKD), diagnosis and treatment

The kidneys

Every human body has two kidneys. Each kidney is of the size of a clenched fist weighing approximately 150 grams, shaped like beans. The kidneys are located on the back on the two sides of the spine below the rib cage. 

Though most people have two kidneys, one in ten thousand people have only a single kidney. In fact a single kidney is sufficient to carry out all the functions of a healthy person without difficulty.

That Nature has provided us with two kidneys signifies the importance of the kidney for our sustenance. The kidneys do the job of removing the waste products from the body so that the body remains free from toxic substances.

The kidneys remain vigilant and go on filtering the blood every minute so that we can live happily. The blood visits the kidney 40 times a day. The kidney consists of millions of filter units along with 140 miles of tubules for the job of filtration of the blood. Absorption of water and other needed proteins by blood also occurs here replenishing the blood with healthy proteins, nutrients, water and minerals.

Kidney functions

The important functions of the kidney are removing waste products and excess fluids from the body, removing acids from the blood, passing the wastes by making about 2 liters of urine a day, maintaining the perfect balance of important salts and minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium etc, regulating the blood pressure, producing red blood cells.

The extent of job performed by the kidneys can be understood by the fact that the kidneys handle 25% of the blood from each heartbeat.

In spite of the fact that the kidneys are the hardest organ of the body, about 10% of the world population are affected by chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease

When chronic kidney disease occurs it means that the kidneys no longer are able to filter the blood, and the wastes, fluids and toxins are getting built up in the body. In severe cases blood and protein leak into the urine. Even if it may not be visible to naked eyes but can be traced by testing the urine.

The term chronic does not always indicate that the kidney disease has reached some severe condition. Generally in most of the cases the kidney disease happens to be mold and is possible to be contained with the advice of your doctor.

For the furtherance of the treatment of the CKD, it is of utmost importance that the disease be diagnosed scientifically. For the diagnosis of the CKD both blood as well as urine tests are required to be done.

Diagnosis of CKD

The preliminary test includes finding the amount of creatinine. The amount of creatinine offers a diagnostic tool to the hands of the physician for determining the extent of kidney damage. Estimated glomerular filtration rate or eGRP can tell the doctor how efficiently the kidneys are able to filter the blood. This is measured in ml/min.

The kidney disease has a slow progression and in the initial stages can be managed with self help.

But gradually when the CKD starts getting severe external intervention becomes necessary. There is no cure for CKD and the medical science is doing all out research in finding new avenues of treatment aiming at curing the CKD.

Stages of CKD

Doctors have categorized the CKD into five stages.

Stage 1: the kidneys function normally. Some findings indicate kidney disease. eGFR level 90 ml/min and more.

Stage 2: along with wrong findings the kidneys also show reduced functioning. eGFR level 60 to 89 ml/min.

Stage 3: kidney function is reduced moderately. eGFR level 30 to 59 ml/min.

Stage 4: kidney functions are severely impaired. eGFR level 15 to 29 ml/min.

Stage 5: end stage and the kidney failure stage. eGFR level below 15 ml/min.

In the earlier stages of CKD, only symptomatic treatments are given and for most people it can be managed. But as and when the condition becomes severe leading to kidney failure interventions such as dialysis and kidney transplants are done. It is estimated that around 10% of people all over the world have CKD.

Reasons of CKD

The reasons for CKD can be many. But still now the medical fraternity can only approximate the probable reasons. The root cause of the disease is yet to be fully ascertained. Lots of research is going on to scientifically establish the root cause of CKD.

Now we can only point to some triggers of the disease CKD.

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart issues
  • Inflammation to the glomerulus
  • Blockages to urine flow which may be due to prostate enlargement, cysts etc
  • Prolonged medication with anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Hereditary reasons

Symptoms which can point to the kidney disease

The symptoms which may be due to the CKD might also be due to other ailments. Hence only the doctors are the right person to determine the cause of the symptoms. You must not ponder about it which may unnecessarily make you stressed.

The aim of such an article is to inform you regarding the possible reasons as a first hand information. Never try to self-diagnose the disease. It is dangerous. If you have slightest doubt in your mind rush to your doctor and confirm. Delaying and getting stressed extrapolating something severe is not your cup of tea.

The probable symptoms ( which needs to be confirmed by the doctor )

  • Tired feeling 
  • Losing interest in work
  • Lack of concentration
  • Weakened muscles
  • Insomnia
  • More frequency of urination in the night
  • Aches in bones
  • Cramps in muscles
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Swelling in arms, feet and ankles

I would like to repeat here that all the symptoms mentioned above are not exclusively attributed to kidney disease. These are the symptoms of other diseases too. Only a doctor will confirm the disease. Self treatment is dangerous and must be avoided.

In some cases the patients with CKD may not even find any symptoms at all. But yet the kidney diseases progress silently and start showing symptoms when the condition is severe.


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Kidney Urology