Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a disorder in which the kidneys start losing function over time. The kidneys refer to the bean-shaped organs that sit on either side of the spine under the rib cage. They are essential for regulating fluid and electrolyte balance, flushing out waste, and keeping you healthy. Damaged kidneys are unable to filter waste products in people with chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is a progressive disorder, which means that it worsens over time as the disease progresses. This condition can be caused by a number of factors, including chronic high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney infections, autoimmune diseases, polycystic kidney disease, and prolonged use of certain medications. Other risk factors may include ageing, smoking, obesity and a family history of kidney disease. A Nephrologist from Singapore can diagnose it through tests that evaluate kidney function.
Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
The symptoms of chronic kidney disease often develop slowly and may not be detectable in the early stages. However, as the condition advances, many people experience the following symptoms:
► Fatigue and weakness
► Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet
► Dry, itchy skin
► Nausea and vomiting
► Loss of appetite
► Trouble sleeping
► Muscle cramps
► Change in urine output or appearance
► Difficulty concentrating
► High blood pressure
It is important to note that some people with chronic kidney disease may not experience any symptoms in the early stages of the disease therefore regular check-ups and screenings are essential for early detection and effective management. If you experience any symptoms that concern you or have a family history of renal disease, speak with your doctor for a proper evaluation.
Chronic Kidney Disease is typically diagnosed through a combination of tests and evaluations. Some common diagnostic tests and procedures a nephrologist in Singapore may perform include:
► Blood test: To measure levels of waste products, such as creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN), in the blood. Increased levels may suggest renal disease.
► Urine test: To check for the presence of blood or protein in the urine, which can indicate kidney damage or disease.
► Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) test: To measure how effectively the kidneys are filtering waste products from the blood.
► Imaging studies: Such as ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI scans, to create images of the kidneys and surrounding structures.
► Kidney biopsy: A procedure in which a small sample of kidney tissue is removed and studied under a microscope to help diagnose and determine the cause of kidney disease.
These tests can help determine the severity of kidney disease and guide the development of a treatment plan. Do keep in mind that early detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease can slow down the progression of the disease and help preserve kidney function.
The treatment options for chronic kidney disease vary depending on the severity of the disease and other individual factors, such as overall health and underlying medical conditions. Some common treatments for chronic kidney disease include:
► Lifestyle changes: Changing your diet, exercise habits, and managing other health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, can help slow down its progression.
► Medications: Medications, such as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), can help control blood pressure, reduce proteinuria, and slow down the progression of kidney disease. Sodium/glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) can also help with treating various kidney conditions.
► Dialysis: A procedure that helps filter waste products from the blood in patients with end-stage renal disease, it may be performed at a dialysis center or at home depending on an individual’s suitability and preference.
► Kidney transplant: A surgical procedure in which a healthy kidney from a donor is transplanted into the body of a patient with end-stage renal disease.
These are examples of the treatment available for chronic kidney disease, the finalized treatment plan will depend on the patient’s individual needs and the nature of their kidney-related condition. It is important to work closely with a nephrologist in Singapore to determine the best course of action for your kidney care.