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Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Detecting Kidney Disease – Stage Five

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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.

 

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