March is National Kidney Month, and here at RGU we want to equip you with practical resources that you can use to keep your kidneys healthy. Our kidneys filter over 200 liters of blood every day to remove waste and toxins from our bodies. They are a vital organ we can’t live without, so it’s important to keep them healthy.
What is chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is a condition that develops when your kidneys are damaged to the point that they can no longer adequately filter your blood. When this happens, toxins can build up in your bloodstream.
One in 9 adults in America has chronic kidney disease. Some of the leading causes of CKD are diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
If left untreated, CKD can have a negative effect on every part of your body. Since we need our kidneys to survive, CKD can become life-threatening. It’s important to catch CKD early in order to have the best possible outcome. Thankfully, there are treatment options available for CKD that reduce symptoms and slow the disease’s progression.
How do I know if I have chronic kidney disease?
Some common symptoms of CKD include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urination changes
- Chest pain
- High blood pressure
- A general feeling of malaise
Some people experience no symptoms of CKD before kidney damage has reached a critical level, so it’s important to know the risk factors of the disease. People with a family history of CKD, high blood pressure, or diabetes, or who belong to an ethnic minority group are at a higher risk for developing CKD.
Obtaining a screening is the only way to know for certain whether or not you have CKD, so it’s important to talk to your health care provider if you are at risk. Screening for CKD involves blood work and a urine test.
If your test shows that you have CKD, your health care provider may want to order a CT scan, ultrasound, or biopsy to determine the level of damage your kidneys have had.
How is chronic kidney disease treated?
Here are some of the most common treatments:
- Lifestyle changes. One of the best ways to treat CKD is to treat its underlying health problems. Lifestyle and exercise choices can help you manage your high blood pressure and diabetes, which can slow or prevent the development of CKD. Eating a healthy diet, taking blood pressure medication, and quitting smoking can make a big difference when it comes to CKD.
- Dialysis. When kidney damage reaches a critical level, your kidneys can’t adequately filter your blood. Dialysis is a treatment that involves a machine that filters your blood. You may have to go to a treatment center several times a week for dialysis, or you may be able to do the treatment at home.
- Transplant. In the case of total kidney failure, a kidney transplant is the last treatment option.
Take charge of your health today
To learn about ways you can prevent kidney disease, check out our blog on 5 steps that you can start putting into practice today. If you are seeking treatment for chronic kidney disease, contact RGU online or give us a call today at 575-522-7880 to schedule an appointment.