Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which kidneys are damaged and their ability to keep a person healthy is decreased. The main role of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood before converting them into urine. The kidneys also:
- Help maintain blood pressure
- Maintain the correct levels of chemicals in your body which, in turn, will help heart and muscles function properly
- Produce the active form of vitamin D that keeps bones healthy
- Produce a substance called erythropoietin, which stimulates production of red blood cells
CKD is the reduced ability of the kidney to carry out these functions in the long-term. This is most often caused by damage to the kidneys from other conditions, most commonly diabetes and high blood pressure. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. People with CKD are known to have an increased risk of a heart attack because of changes that occur to the circulation. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse.
Talk to your doctor about your kidneys if you:
- Have diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Are obese
- Are over 50years of age
- Have a family history of kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure
- Have swelling over feet
Three simple tests to check for kidney disease are Blood Pressure, Urine analysis and serum creatinine. Early kidney disease can and should be treated to keep it from getting worse.