occurs when a kidney is damaged and cannot work effectively. Kidneys clean waste from the blood, which passes out of the body in urine. If the disease is caught early, damage to the kidney can be slowed, but not stopped completely.
If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to chronic renal failure. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your doctor.
Not sleeping well
Less desire to eat than usual
Shortness of breath
Altered mental state
The most reliable way to measure kidney disease is by testing for glomerular filtration rate—the speed at which blood enters, is cleaned, and then leaves the kidney. A rate of less than 60 milliliters every minute over three months indicates chronic kidney disease.
A blood test for levels of creatine is a part of calculating the filtration rate. Creatinine is an acid that promotes muscle growth. When the kidney is not working effectively, the amount of creatinine in the blood increases. Other commonly ordered tests include calcium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, potassium, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and bicarbonate.
A doctor also will test for protein in the urine, particularly for a protein called albumin, and ask questions about personal and health histories to determine if there are any other causes for the results of the blood and urine tests.
Your doctor may order an
of the kidney.
Patients who are already at high risk for kidney disease should be tested more frequently so any damage can be diagnosed early. Patients with kidney disease will be referred to a specialist called a nephrologist, who is dedicated to managing kidney diseases. On rare occasion, a kidney biopsy is done.
Although chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it is possible to slow the damage to the kidney in most patients. Your doctor may recommend any of the following:
Controlling protein in the urine through restricting the amount of protein in the diet or medication
Taking ACE inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor antagonists to slow the progression to chronic renal failure
Reducing the use of and the dosages of potentially renal toxic drugs
Managing the complications of chronic renal disease (eg, fluid overload, high blood phosphate or potassium levels, low blood level of calcium, and anemia)
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a