Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease

January 05, 2021
The kidneys are delicate, complex vital organs that are responsible for filtering out waste, toxins, and excess fluid from the blood, which are expelled through urine. Properly working kidneys filter roughly four ounces of blood each minute. The kidneys also produce a number of crucial hormones.

When the kidneys fail to work, excess waste and fluid builds up in the body causing the person to feel ill and weak to begin with. It can progress to the point that it affects other organs and can potentially become life threatening.

Chronic kidney disease, abbreviated as CKD, is a condition of the kidneys defined as the gradual loss of their function over a prolonged period of time, as opposed to acute kidney failure, which is sudden. CKD is categorized into five stages based on severity; stage 1, meaning that there is mild kidney damage, to stage 5, indicating that the kidneys have lost almost all their function. People who have reached an advanced stage generally have to undergo lifelong dialysis or require a kidney transplant.

The kidneys are at risk of damage when faced with certain health conditions. The main risk factors of chronic kidney disease include:
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Family history of CKD
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
The progression of the disease is gradual and can develop over a long period of time. Symptoms are often non-specific and people with early stage chronic kidney disease may not present severe symptoms. The signs and symptoms of CKD are attributed to the slowdown of its functions, resulting in retention of water, an imbalance of minerals, and accumulation of toxins.

Here are some of the symptoms people with CKD may experience:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Difficult to control hypertension
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Ammonia breath
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Pale skin
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Frequent urination, especially during the night
  • Decreased mental acuity
If you suspect that you may have developed CKD, it is vital that you seek out immediate medical attention. If you would like to have a kidney function assessment, tests are available as part of a general health examination or a stand-alone test.

Lastly, do not take minor signs and symptoms lightly and wait until severe symptoms prevent themselves to get medical attention. Early-stage diseases are much less challenging to treat than advanced stage diseases.

Nephrology (Kidney) Center
Bumrungrad International Clinic (BIC) Building, 19th floor
8.00-20.00  (BKK Time)
Hot line tel. +66 61 408 7241
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