According to the National Kidney Foundation report, an estimated 26 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), yet less than one in 10 individuals is aware they have a problem. Today’s epidemics of diabetes and obesity could contribute to even higher rates of CKD in the future. If undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to serious health problems, including kidney failure, which requires chronic dialysis or the need for a transplant. CKD can also increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease—the most common cause of death in people with CKD.
Most people with early CKD have no symptoms, which is why testing is critical. By the time symptoms appear, CKD may be advanced, and symptoms can be misleading. These are possible warning signs of CKD:
- Fatigue, weakness
- Difficult, painful urination
- Foamy urine
- Pink, dark urine (blood in urine)
- Increased need to urinate ?(especially at night)
- Puffy eyes, especially in the morning
- Swollen face, hands, abdomen, ankles, feet
- Increased thirst
- Dry, itchy skin
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Poor appetite
Some people are more likely than others to develop CKD. You may have an increased risk for CKD if you:
- Have diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Have a family history of chronic kidney disease
- Are older
- Are African American, Hispanic American, Asian, American Indian or a Pacific Islander
Your kidneys work hard for you all day, every day. The main job of the kidneys is to remove wastes from the blood and return cleansed blood back to the body. Your kidneys also regulate blood pressure and excrete waste from your body by producing urine. It is important to keep your kidneys healthy to avoid CKD and other complications. Follow these tips to help keep your kidneys healthy:
- Check your blood pressure regularly, and control high blood pressure
- Avoid heavy use of over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, Aleve®, etc.
- Seek treatment for urinary tract and kidney infections quickly
- Avoid cigarette smoking
- Avoid a high-sodium diet
- Drink water instead of soda pop and coffee
If detected and treated early, CKD can be managed and kidney damage can be slowed or stopped. That’s why early and regular testing for those at risk is essential. Three simple tests can detect kidney problems: a urine test to measure protein, a blood test to measure serum creatinine and a blood pressure measurement.
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