Kidney Disease Information
The number of patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is increasing. Estimates put one out of every ten Americans has some form of kidney disease. If visits to a Nephrologist became as frequent as regular visits to a primary care physician, it might be possible to slow the progression of CKD. However, s.Some patients’ disease will progress to a point where the patient will need dialysis or a transplant.
Two Leading Causes of Kidney Failure
There are two leading causes of kidney failure, diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). Control of these two conditions can prevent or delay the onset of kidney failure. Some of the most common symptoms of kidney disease include but not limited to:
- Changes in the Frequency of Urination
- Loss of Appetite
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Swelling or Loss of Sensation in Feet or Hands
- Muscle Cramps
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Blood or Protein in Urine
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a condition in which the kidneys lose their ability to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body. When lost, excessive waste and fluid buildup in the body. Loss of kidney function has direct and indirect effects on the body as other body systems are also negatively affected by this loss of kidney function.
Most Common Causes
Diabetes and Hypertension are the most common causes of CKD and therefore patients with these conditions are at increased risk for developing CKD with time. If you have one or both of these diseases, you should be discussing your "kidney health" regularly with your primary care physician.
Blood and urine tests help determine Kidney Function. The actual level at which your kidneys are functioning is an estimate derived from a relatively simple tests. The providers at Nephrology Associates, P.C. will discuss this function with you and provide you with your estimated percentage of function versus normal.
Urine, on the other hand, is the "exhaust" of the kidney filtering process. Though urine test by themselves do not typically tell us to what level your kidneys are functioning, it does give information about the quality of work coming from the kidneys. A urine test can be very important in predicting the long-term future of your kidney function and in monitoring the success of treatment of CKD. It is therefore very important that you update all lab work before each appointment at Nephrology Associates, P.C.
Prevention and Slowing
The goal of treatment in CKD is to prevent the development and slow the progression of CKD if indeed it does develop while treating the complications that arise from this disease. The caregivers at Nephrology Associates, P.C. work closely with your primary care physician in an attempt to optimize your kidney function and treat the various complications of CKD. Complications include fluid retention, difficult to control hypertension, anemia, metabolic bone disease, and many metabolic problems.
Renal Replacement Therapies (RRT)
If your kidney disease progresses, our providers will begin to discuss renal replacement therapies (RRT)with you (dialysis and renal transplant). We will begin discussing RRT when normal renal function falls to less than 30%. At less than 20% of normal renal function, we begin preparing for RRT. And at less than 10% of normal renal function, we consider starting you on the RRT type of your choice.
When you leave Nephrology Associates, P.C. after each appointment, you will know the level of your overall kidney function, the chances of this function worsening with time and the plan for treatment of your CKD and preparing for RRT if needed.
Kidney Disease Management
As mentioned above, it is unlikely for a full recovery of a CKD diagnosed patient. But, early detection is important in preventing a fast progression. If you when diagnosed with kidney disease, the following are ways to manage it:
See your Nephrologist regularly and schedule appointments according to the how your disease progresses. Drs. LeBrun and Dunn will work closely with your primary care physician in the management of other medical conditions.
Manage blood pressure either through diet and exercise or by taking prescribed medications. Regularly check blood pressure by having it monitored by the primary care physician.
If you are a diabetic, it is very important to manage blood sugars. Implement a low saturated fat, low cholesterol, and low salt diet. Some patients will need to implement a low protein, low sugar, and low potassium diet as well.