What is Chronic Kidney Disease: Know the Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

CRITICAL INSURANCE



Owing to several lifestyle and environmental factors, the number of people getting affected by various ailments such as respiratory problems, diabetes and hypertension is growing in India. In fact, air pollution has been known to increase the risks of Chronic Kidney Disease in people. This is an alarming fact which was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 

Ailments such as Chronic Kidney Disease are medical conditions that cannot be taken lightly. Kidneys are vital organs in the body and their improper functioning can be detrimental. Diseases occur when the normal function of kidneys – that of purifying the blood and flushing out toxins from the body – gets disturbed. 

What is Chronic Kidney Disease? 

It is a medical condition seen in people whose kidney function gradually deteriorates over a period of time. If the disease advances and no proper treatment given to the patient, then waste and fluids can build up in the body up to a dangerous level. The condition can even lead to permanent kidney failure. 

The human body has two kidneys located at the back of the abdomen. In the worst scenario, if one of them stops, the other would still perform its normal function. 

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Ailment 

Some of the common symptoms of kidney problems are: 

  • Blood in urine
  • Protein in urine
  • Hypertension
  • Anaemia
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Oedema (swelling in ankles, feet or hands due to water retention)
  • Nausea 
  • Muscle cramps
  • Itching
  • Frequent urination or decreased urine output

Causes of Chronic Kidney Ailment

The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and removing waste products from our body. Due to long-term damage, the kidneys get affected and diseases arise. Some factors responsible for the disease include: 

  • Diabetes: Excess blood sugar, if not controlled, can damage the kidneys. Both types 1 and 2 Diabetes are linked to kidney disease that arises when the blood sugar levels are not maintained at normal levels. 
  • Hypertension: High blood pressure levels can damage glomeruli – the network of capillaries – located in the kidney. 
  • Genetic disorders: Polycystic kidney disease is a condition where cysts form in the kidneys. It can lead to kidney disease. A family history of kidney disease also puts a person at greater risk of kidney ailments.
  • Obstruction of the urine flow: Conditions like enlargement of the prostate gland in males, or the presence of kidney stones and tumours can block the urinary tract. This can, in turn, put pressure on the kidneys and affect their normal functions.     
  • Kidney artery stenosis: A condition where the renal artery becomes narrow or gets blocked before it reaches the kidney. 

Certain medications, toxins like metal poisoning, substance abuse, physical injury to the kidneys, infections, etc. are other causes of the disease. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

The presence of a kidney ailment is detected through diagnostic tests like blood tests, urine tests, kidney biopsy and kidney scans. There is no permanent cure for a chronic kidney ailment. However, with the help of therapies, one can minimize the risk of complications. 

The doctor would recommend various medications for the specific symptom like iron supplements for Anaemia, medicine for high blood pressure, maintaining phosphate balance, etc. In end-stage kidney disease, a dialysis or kidney transplant may be required. These types of treatments can be expensive which is why the patients should have a health insurance cover. 

However, prevention is better than treatment which is why doctor advises diabetics and hypertension patients to follow a healthy lifestyle.

Some tips to reduce kidney disease are given below: 

  • Maintaining blood sugar and blood pressure at a normal level
  • Restriction on potassium and phosphorus consumption
  • Following a diet which is low in salt and fats
  • Reducing the intake of alcohol and tobacco use
  • Increasing physical activities

Care Health Insurance (Formerly Religare Health Insurance) offers health plans to help you manage the burden of expensive medical treatments. Critical Illness Insurance is a health insurance policy that covers 32 critical diseases including End-Stage Renal Failure.