What is it?

  • Your kidneys are responsible for filtering excess fluids and waste products from your blood. This waste is then eliminated in your urine. Chronic kidney failure refers to the loss of kidney function over months or years. In advanced stages, dangerous levels of wastes and fluids back up in your body. This condition is also called chronic kidney disease.
  • 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 (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

What are the symptoms?

If you’re in the early stages of chronic kidney failure, you may or may not have symptoms. Many of the early signs of kidney failure can be confused with other illnesses and conditions. This makes diagnosis difficult.

Early symptoms are:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Itching.
  • Chest pain.
  • Uncontrollable high blood pressure.
  • Unexpected weight loss.

Later-stage symptoms include:

  • Difficulty staying alert.
  • Cramps and twitches.
  • Numbness in your limbs.
  • Weakness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Bad breath.
  • Skin that’s darker or lighter than usual.
  • Bone pain.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Bleeding and bruising easily.
  • Insomnia.
  • Urinating much more or less than usual.
  • Hiccups.
  • Swollen feet and ankles.
  • Absent menstrual periods.
  • Shortness of breath.

What to expect?

If you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, you can consider discussing the following subjects with your doctor:

  • Was there a specific cause found for your condition?
  • Are investigations necessary to assess and evaluate your condition? If so, do you need preparations prior to these tests?
  • Do you need a stricter control of other medical conditions you may have, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol?
  • Some patients with chronic kidney disease are prescribed medication they will need to use lifelong. Is this the case for you as well? What other treatment options do you have?
  • A healthy diet, quitting smoking and an active lifestyle can help improve your overall health and well-being. Which changes can you make in your lifestyle?
  • Patients with chronic kidney disease are regularly followed-up. How often do you need to visit your doctor?

Think you might have Chronic kidney disease?

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Think you might have Chronic kidney disease?