Kidneys are in charge of cleaning your blood and filtering waste and extra water out of your bloodstream so that you can get rid of it when you pee. They also control your blood pressure. Your kidneys are located on both sides of your spine, just above your waist. They are in the shape of a bean and about the size of your fist.
You may not experiences any problems in the early stages of kidney disease. Once it is more advanced, you may experience these symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sleep problems
- Changes in how much you urinate
- Decreased mental sharpness
- Muscle twitches and cramps
- Swelling of feet and ankles
- Persistent itching
- Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
- Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
- High blood pressure that's difficult to control
Chronic kidney disease is caused when your kidney function is impaired from a disease or condition. Some of these inhibiting diseases and conditions include high blood pressure, polycystic kidney disease, and type 1 or 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Being African-American, Native American, or Asian-American
- Family history of kidney disease
- Abnormal kidney structure
- Older age
Treating the cause: Your doctor will try to control or slow the signs and symptoms along will slowing the progression of the disease.
Treatment for end-stage kidney disease
You have end-stage kidney disease if your kidneys can’t keep up with waste and fluid clearance by themselves. Also, if you develop complete or near-complete kidney failure, you have it. At this point, you either need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Dialysis: When your kidney can no longer remove waste products or extra fluid from your blood, dialysis artificially does it. In hemodialysis, a machine does it for you. In peritoneal dialysis, a thin tube is inserted into your abdomen which fills your abdominal cavity with a dialysis solution. This solution absorbs waste and excess fluids, and after a period of time, the dialysis solution drains from your body, carrying the waste with it.
Kidney transplant: This is when a healthy kidney from a donor is surgically placed in your body. They can come from deceased or living donors. Because your body will try to reject the new organ, you’ll have to take medications for the rest of your life to stop this from happening. You don’t need dialysis if you get a kidney transplant.
Depending on the cause, some types of kidney disease can be treated. Most of the time, chronic kidney disease has no cure.
The two biggest things to focus on when preventing kidney disease is diabetes and high blood pressure. They are two of the most major threats to your kidneys. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you should work on bringing it under control, so they don’t overly wear down your kidneys in the long run. Also, things that you do to maintain a healthy heart and weight are good for your kidneys such as not smoking and staying active. Lastly, if you are at higher risk of developing kidney disease, you should regularly get urine tests and blood pressure readings.