Category Archives: Kidney Disease

Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Detecting Kidney Disease – Stage Five

Tacky Lab Equipment
Get those tests done — early!

Why is it so important to detect kidney disease in its early stages, even if it’s rather hard to diagnose? Because when you reach Stage 4, you are likely past the point of living without serious medical intervention or even a transplant. And by the time you arrive at Stage 5, you have virtually no other option. There is nothing else to do but plan for a transplant.

In Stage 5, the kidneys have only about 15% of function left – or less. At this point, if left on their own, they would be completely unable to keep the patient alive. Dialysis now becomes very important to filter the blood of impurities the kidneys can’t remove.

Most symptoms are the same as for Stage 4 or earlier, but multiplied considerably. The person experiences the same tendency to hypertension (high blood pressure) because of the inability to expel fluids. And because the heart is working that much harder as a result, the person may suffer pericarditis, which is an inflammation of the lining around that organ. There would now be very high levels of creatinine and urea, which the kidneys can’t filter out. And susceptibility to infections would also increase.

The inability to absorb calcium or for the kidneys to produce the chemical that stimulates production of red blood cells worsens. And therefore the reduction in bone density and the tendency toward anemia would continue to be a problem. Added to these symptoms would come others that might seem comparatively “minor,” but which could be aggravating. These include difficulty sleeping, shortness of breath, increased itching, or frequent vomiting.

Certain treatments can attempt to bring down blood pressure or reduce anemia, while dietary adjustments may allow more absorption of calcium. But now with such reduced filtering capacity, dialysis is usually the only way to cleanse the bloodstream of impurities. Some patients can survive for a long time with dialysis treatments, though the most common form of dialysis takes several hours, three days a week, and therefore restricts their lifestyle. But for others, dialysis may lose its effectiveness relatively quickly. And the best hope in both cases is for a kidney transplant.

There are usually signs of kidney disease well before things reach Stage 5. To maintain good health and never allow themselves to arrive at this stage, the wisest course for everyone is to have yearly, thorough checkups with detailed blood work, and to investigate even the most nebulous symptoms that might indicate kidney disease.


Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Detecting Kidney Disease – Stage Four

In previous entries, we’ve examined symptoms and effects of Stages One and Two of kidney disease, and then Stage Three, where things finally become noticeable and serious. In Stage Four of kidney disease, the symptoms start to be debilitating, and kidney function is severely impaired. In fact, at this stage, there is only 15-29% kidney function. The body may have disguised its condition for quite a while, but now the disease becomes drastically apparent.

The symptoms magnify things that had begun appearing in Stage Three: fatigue increases considerably, the appetite keeps declining, and an earlier phenomenon of itching might become much worse. High blood pressure continues to be problematic, because of course the kidneys have lost much of their capacity to excrete unneeded fluid, so it is retained in the body, making the heart and blood vessels work harder. And the kidneys may have trouble producing erythopoietin, which stimulates blood cell production, so anemia is another problem.

At Stage Four, a cascade of effects may produce other effects, all of which contribute to an increasing weakness and a worsening of symptoms. As the kidneys become less able to filter phosphate, the levels of that electrolyte increase. In turn, this makes it more difficult for the body to absorb calcium. And since it’s the proper interaction of phosphorous and calcium that strengthens bones, bone density itself may gradually decrease. This may produce aching in the bones, but it also leaves the person more prone to fractures, which take longer than usual to heal.

Treatments at this stage are many. Blood pressure is often treated with diuretics, though some of these can play havoc with potassium levels. Anemia can usually be successfully counteracted with drugs resembling erythopoietin. Medications may prevent bone disease, and much of the phosphorous/calcium imbalance can be reduced with diet.

But these are generally stop-gap measures. This is the stage where the patient begins heading in the direction of dialysis, and starts receiving consideration for a possible transplant. While the effects of Stage Four can be mitigated to some extent, the fact remains that the kidneys are so seriously diseased that the body can’t go on forever like this.

Again, it is extremely important to take good, thorough stock of one’s complete health every few months. The symptoms of kidney disease are easy to miss, in the stages when a person might do something about it.


Categories Kidney Disease

Link Between Kidney Disease and Hearing Loss

A study just released in the October 1, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases has demonstrated an interesting correlation between kidney disease and hearing loss, particularly in people aged fifty and older.

This Reuters article, Moderate kidney disease linked to hearing loss, describes the findings:

In the study, of adults aged 50 years and older, 54 percent of people with moderate kidney disease had some extent of hearing loss, while 30 percent of those with the disease suffered severe hearing loss.

One reason this is significant is that for the general population in the same age range, the rate of hearing loss is only 18 percent. But even recognizing some kind of connection between this disease and the loss of one’s hearing, the next question is whether this link is causal, or merely coincidental.

According to the Australian authors of the study, the connection is not, in fact, a causal one. Kidney disease doesn’t cause the hearing loss, or vice versa. So what explains the correlation between them? Dr. David Harris, of the University of Sydney, is one of the study authors. He explains that there are “structural and functional similarities” between tissues in the kidney and the inner ear. So the same physical pressures, toxins, and risk factors that affect kidneys may also affect the inner ear.

Does this connection actually matter, then, if one problem doesn’t cause the other? Yes it does. If you experience some degree of hearing loss, you may be prompted to have your doctor check your kidney function, and detect potential disease much earlier. And if you have the disease, it may be useful to have your ears checked, to take much earlier steps to preserve your hearing.

Because of how the bodily systems interact, problems in one area can provide hints that there may be problems in others.

(Other source: Chronic Kidney Disease Might Affect Hearing, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 6, 2010)

Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Detecting Kidney Disease – Stage Three

Blood pressure measurement
High blood pressure and kidney disease make each other worse
We’ve discussed Stages One and Two of kidney disease, and what to look for, to get one’s condition diagnosed as quickly as possible. But as many people learn to their distress, the first two stages of this disease are not easily detected unless one looks and watches very carefully. The first clearly noticeable symptoms finally reveal themselves as the disease reaches Stage Three, when already the person has less than 60% kidney function remaining, and may have as little as 30%. Yet even then, the symptoms can often be mistaken for something else.


People can go on for a long time with such reduced kidney function, because some of the initial symptoms — tiredness and changes of appetite —  are so vague that they could be caused by many other things. But when they are combined with other symptoms like itching, water retention, and anemia, this is when the pieces slowly fall into place. As the kidneys become less able to filter fluids and remove them from the body, more fluids are retained, and the person may experience swelling and puffiness. Even their urine may become more clear, because fewer impurities are being excreted.
Naturally this contributes to higher blood pressure. But the blood itself becomes more anemic, because it’s when the kidney releases the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) that red blood cells can be created. When the kidney can’t release as much EPO as it’s supposed to, the blood cell count goes lower and the patient becomes more anemic. In turn, the blood carries less oxygen and the body has to work harder in order to function. As a result, the person experiences greater and greater fatigue.

At this stage, the patient absolutely must take steps to reduce sodium in the diet and bring the blood pressure down. The higher the pressure, the more damage to vein walls, and the more damage to veins in the kidneys, the worse kidney function becomes. Adjustments must also be made to other elements of diet: protein will need to be reduced, though the patient can’t live completely without it. Patients may also need to take a phosphorus binder and vitamins that help boost kidney function. Working on these things with a knowledgeable dietitian is essential.

Even if earlier stages have been missed and the person has advanced well into Stage Three, it’s vital to get diagnosed as early as possible, to preserve what kidney function is left and prevent the disease from progressing any further.


Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Detecting Kidney Disease – Stages One and Two

SEM blood cells
Checking the blood content levels to detect kidney disease
Chronic Kidney Disease appears in five stages, ranging from an early stage with little obvious effect to a final stage where the patient is on life-saving dialysis or awaiting a transplant. Each stage has certain characteristics and means of detection. The more that people know the various signs and effects of being in each stage, the sooner they may get a proper diagnosis from their doctor. Early detection is the best key to effective treatment.

Stage One leaves the patient with 90% kidney function. The person can survive at this level, but it’s still necessary to detect the problem so causes and treatments can be addressed. If they don’t take steps at this point, the disease is very likely to progress to the next level. Stage Two leaves only 60-89% kidney function, as the damage to these organs has increased.

The difficulty is that there are no obvious symptoms of kidney dysfunction at either stage. This may lead to a lack of detection at a crucial time when the disease could have been nipped in the bud, or curtailed before it got much worse. So it’s essential that the person have their regular yearly physical checkups, including urine tests and extensive blood work. Even with no other physical symptoms, these tests can detect:

  1. elevated creatinine levels (which indicate how well the kidneys are filtering out wastes)
  2. elevated protein levels (another indication of inefficiency in filtering wastes)
  3. elevated blood urea nitrogen levels (kidneys take urea from the blood and expel it in the urine, but if the blood levels are high, this is another hint of failing kidneys)

In addition to the potential for early detection with blood and urine tests, high blood pressure is a well known hint of problems with kidney function. The most often mentioned symptom is high blood pressure, which can either cause kidney disease, or be caused by it. So if a person’s blood pressure rises, this can be a spur to doing the urine and blood tests, either to detect kidney disease or rule it out. And all steps (medication, exercise, alterations in diet) must be taken to bring the blood pressure down.

If blood and urine tests indicate a possible problem, doctors can go further and take a kidney biopsy, do a CT scan, or perform an MRI. So even at these early stages, while it’s more difficult, it’s still possible to detect incipient kidney disease. What it takes is vigilance, and thorough, regular checkups.


Categories Kidney Disease

Tell tale signs of kidney disease

The symptoms for early stage of kidney disease are so faint that often it takes years to discover that someone may have kidney disease.

The purpose of this article is to empower you with knowledge so that at the end of this reading you are equipped to understand the symptoms of kidney failure or kidney disease. Please keep in mind, many of these symptoms can be caused by something other than kidney disease, so the only way to confirm is to have regular checkups and see your doctor.

1. Urine:Usually urine is a prime indicator for a lot of things happening in your body. Its color, frequency and quantity can deliver a lot of information. Since kidneys make urine, this could be the prime indicator to determine the health of your kidneys.

Some of the things that may point to a potential problem are: foamy or bubbly urine, increase in frequency and quantity, pale urine, dark colored urine, blood in the urine and difficulty urinating.

2. Swelling: Kidneys make urine, and extra fluid is disposed from the body through it.If there is a kidney problem, fluid will start to build up in the body, and that will lead to swelling in the ankles, feet, face and hands.

3. Skin Rash/Itching:Kidneys remove waste from the bloodstream. When kidneys fail, the buildup of waste in your blood can cause severe itching.

4. Nausea and Vomiting:A severe buildup of waste in the blood (uremia) can also cause nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss.

5. Shortness of Breath:Trouble catching your breath can be related to kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia (a shortage of oxygen-carrying red blood cells) can leave your body oxygen-starved and you short of breath.

Other symptoms may include tiredness, metallic taste in the mouth, pain in the side and trouble concentrating.

Here is a chart indicating the stages of kidney disease:

Stage Description GFR
1 Slight kidney damage with normal or increased filtration More than 90
2 Mild decrease in kidney function 60-89
3 Moderate decrease in kidney function 30-59
4 Severe decrease in kidney function 15-29
5 Kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplantation Less than 15


What to do once you realize you have kidney disease?

Understand your lab tests: Once your doctor suspects that you have kidney disease, he/she is going to request some lab tests including blood and urine. Make an effort to understand the readings and what the consequences are if the readings get out of range. Get involved in your own care. Be proactive and know what is going on with your body.

Diabetes and Hypertension: The two main causes for kidney disease are diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). Take charge and monitor these two conditions very closely. If these are ignored, things may get out of control sooner than you think. Diabetes will also start to impact your eyesight. Speak with your doctor and learn how both diabetes and hypertension can be kept under control.

Protein: Kidneys that are already compromised will need to work overtime to digest high protein food. Start a low protein diet.

Smoking: If you are a smoker suffering from diabetes and start to have kidney issues, stop smoking immediately. Smoking will cause irreparable damage and will cause the kidney disease to grow much faster.

Medication: Do not take any medication without consulting your doctor, especially pain killers.

Anemia: Anemia is a pretty common side effect of kidney disease. Consult your doctor to address this issue.

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