Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a medical condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. It is a long-term condition that affects the ability of the kidneys to filter the blood efficiently and to regulate essential biochemical processes in the body. CKD is typically a progressive disease, meaning that kidney function continues to decline gradually, leading to various complications if left untreated.
The stages of CKD are determined by the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which measures how well the kidneys are functioning. There are five stages of CKD, ranging from mild to severe kidney damage. Symptoms may not be noticeable in the early stages, but as the disease progresses, individuals may experience fatigue, swelling, increased blood pressure, changes in urine output, and abnormal levels of electrolytes.
The most common causes of CKD include diabetes, high blood pressure, and prolonged use of certain medications. Other conditions that can contribute to CKD include autoimmune diseases, genetic disorders, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and prolonged urinary tract obstruction.
Treatment for CKD aims to slow down its progression, manage symptoms, and prevent complications. This typically involves lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a balanced diet, quitting smoking, regular exercise, controlling blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and avoiding excessive use of over-the-counter pain relievers. In later stages, patients may require medication, dialysis, or a kidney transplant to sustain normal kidney function. Regular monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare professional are important for managing CKD effectively.