Chronic Kidney Disease is an illness affecting one in ten Americans and, not only hurts the kidneys, but the whole human body. The kidneys, when they are healthy and functioning normally, produce urine, balance out chemicals like calcium, sodium and potassium and produce hormone which regulate the blood cells. They are also an important part of making more red blood cells which provide energy for human beings.
Chronic kidney disease does a number of terrible things to a person. Because they are filters for the body, their damage causes wastes to build up in the body. But, the early onset of kidney disease can happen without any kind of warning or signs. If there is a sudden change in kidney function, this is called acute kidney injury. If it lasts for more than six months, it is designated chronic kidney disease.
Research has shown diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD. Other risks include heart disease and a family history of kidney disease. It has also been found African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans tend to be at greater risk. CKD can be treated and even prevented, however.
There are many symptoms of CKD. They include:
- Swollen ankles, feet or hands
- Fatigue or weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decrease in appetite
- Blood in urine or foamy urine
- Changes in frequency of urine
Blood tests and urine samples are used to detect the presence of CKD in patients. It is important for you to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. If you have any of the risk factors, especially, keep blood pressure down and control cholesterol. Keep an eye on your diet; reduce salt content and eat more healthy food than not, while maintaining a healthy weight. Remain physically active and limit the amount of alcohol consumed. Do NOT smoke. And, if you are diabetic, keep a close eye on your glucose levels.
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