Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. To read more about kidney function, CKD is also known as chronic renal disease.
Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.
What causes CKD?
The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases. Diabetes happens when your blood sugar is too high, causing damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart, as well as blood vessels, nerves and eyes. High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases. If uncontrolled, or poorly controlled, high blood pressure can be a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease. Also, chronic kidney disease can cause high blood pressure. Other conditions that affect the kidneys are:
Will I need to change my diet if I have kidney disease?
Your kidneys help to keep the right balance of nutrients and minerals in your body. But if you have kidney disease, your kidneys may not be able to do this job very well. You may need to make some changes to your diet. Ask your doctor about meeting with a Registered Dietitian with special training in kidney disease. A dietitian can teach you to make the best food choices based on your lab tests and personal lifestyle. Making changes in your diet to better control diabetes and high blood pressure can also help to keep kidney disease from getting worse. Meeting with a dietitian is a covered service by Medicare. The service may also be a covered benefit by other types of insurance. You may need to call your insurance provider to find out if meeting with a dietitian is covered by your plan.