Acting as the body’s filtering system, kidneys play the critical role of taking waste out of the blood. Imagine, what can happen if they stop functioning well.
The kidneys are probably the busiest organ in our body. Besides constantly filtering the blood every second, they help in regulating blood pressure, assists in red blood cell production, and helps to maintain healthy levels of calcium and minerals.
In addition, your kidneys will also activate a form of vitamin D that helps the body to absorb calcium for stronger bones.
This is why keeping kidneys healthy is crucial for your overall wellbeing.
Chronic Kidney Disease is more common than you imagined
Did you know that an estimated 1 in 10 Australians aged 18 and above have signs of chronic kidney disease?
Yes, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD has a high prevalence in the country. There is also a sharp increase of CKD extending into older ages with no difference between men and women in the prevalence of this disease.
What makes this disease more complicated is its symptoms are not noticeable until it has reached an advanced form. And due to this, the early stages of chronic kidney diseases often go undiagnosed because a person won’t be able to feel any discomfort.
However, in the most severe stage, Kidney Replacement Therapy – a kidney transplant or dialysis would be the only options to survive.
Chronic kidney disease symptoms and warning signs
While the only way to make sure of kidney disease is by getting tested, some symptoms to keep an eye on are:
- Swollen ankle and feet as a result of water retention called, Oedema
- Stomach pain and/or back pain
- Experiencing consistent puffiness around eyes
- Increased urge to urinate, particularly at night
- Weight loss and poor appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Dry and itchy skin
- Muscle cramps
You are more likely to develop kidney disease if have:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- A family history of kidney failure
What can I do to prevent chronic kidney disease?
You can prevent chronic kidney disease by managing health conditions that cause kidney disease or damage such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
But the best practice to keep your kidney’s protected is to ask your medical provider about your kidney health during your next visit. For example, if you develop a urinary tract infection (UTI), it is best advised to see a healthcare provider immediately as it can lead to kidney damage if left untreated.
In order to prevent chronic kidney disease:
- If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar regularly and aim to keep it at a range advised by your doctor
- Keep your blood pressure within the healthy range
- Make healthier food choice; if you are diabetic or have high blood pressure, you may want to discuss your diet with a dietitian
- Aim for a healthy weight; you can work with your healthcare provider for weight management
- Explore stress-reducing activities; seek guidance from a counsellor for a plan of action to manage stress.
When to seek medical advice?
Visit your doctor if you have persistent or worrying symptoms that could indicate kidney disorder.
As the symptoms can be very mild and can be caused due to minor conditions, only a test can determine if your kidneys are healthy.
The tests for determining kidney disease are simple. A urine test or a blood test is enough to diagnose kidney disease.
Find more on how kidney disease is diagnosed.
Manage Chronic Kidney Disease at our Chronic Care Clinic
At Inkerman Medical Group, we have a dedicated chronic disease care clinic to diagnose, treat and manage chronic diseases including chronic kidney disease.