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What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic Kidney Disease, which is always shorted as CKD, is a medical term used to describe the progressive loss of kidney function over several months or years. CKD in early stage is not deadly and also it causes no obvious discomforts. However, without effective and timely control, it progresses over time. Various health problems will be caused when it develops to advanced stages. For this reason, timely diagnosis and treatment is very essential for Chronic Kidney Disease patients to live a longer and better life.

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How to Diagnose Chronic Kidney Disease?

A timely diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease is of great importance for a good life expectancy, however, the problem is how do we know if we are suffering from CKD? Medical test is a must for the accurate diagnosis and for people who suspect they have kidney problem, the following medical tests for helpful:

Routine Blood Test: Routine blood test helps to know if there are excessive creatinine and urea nitrogen in blood. Kidneys are responsible for discharging these substances, so when kidney function is affected, serum creatinine and BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) level are always higher than the normal range. Also, according to serum creatinine level, we can estimate GFR which helps to reflect how well the kidney function.

Routine Urine Test: Excess protein and red blood cells will occur in urine when kidney tissues are injured and kidneys fail to function properly. Through routine urine test, we can have a general understanding about kidney condition.

Routine blood test and routine urine test are the two most commonly used tests for Chronic Kidney Disease. In some cases, to have a further understanding about kidney, patients may be also suggested to have some other tests like CT, B ultrasound, Renal Biopsy and Imageological examination and so on.

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5 Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease is a kidney disorder with a long development process. It is divided into 5 stages according to GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) which can help to reflect how far the kidney problem has progressed.

CKD stage 1: In CKD stage 1, GFR is no lower than 90 mL/min/1.73m2 and kidney function is normal, but there is other evidence of kidney disease.

CKD stage 2: CKD stage 2 is characterized GFR 60-89 mL/min/1.73m2 and mildly reduce kidney function. In many cases of stage 2 CKD, there is no obvious symptoms or only elevated blood pressure.

CKD stage 3: In CKD stage 3, GFR is 30-59 mL/min/1.73m2. Various physical discomforts begin to appear in this stage.

CKD stage 4: There is severe reduction in GFR (15-29 mL/min/1.73m2) when Chronic Kidney Disease progresses to stage 4. In this stage, patients are usually suggested to prepare for dialysis or kidney transplant.

CKD stage 5: CKD stage 5 or End Stage Renal Failure(ESRD) is diagnosed when GFR decreases to be lower than 15. Dialysis or kidney transplant are usually needed for life safety.

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What Causes Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease can be primary or secondary. According to clinical date, the leading two cases for CKD are Diabetes and Hypertension. Therefore, a regular medical test is necessary for patients who are living with high blood pressure and high blood sugar. In medicine, aside from Diabetes and Hypertension, many other illnesses like Lupus, Purpura, Kidney Stone, Kidney Infection, some autoimmune disease as well as abuse of some drugs also can cause Chronic Kidney Disease.

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Common Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease

In early stage of Chronic Kidney Disease, there is no obvious symptoms, as the residual kidney function is strong enough to help maintain a normal life. However, if no effective treatment is given at that time, more and more kidney tissues will be damaged and more and more symptoms or signs will occur. The followings are the most common symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease:

Urine Changes: Foamy urine, blood urine, colorless urine, frequent urination at night, decreased urine output and anuria.

Tiredness or fatigue

Fluid retention/swelling/edema

High blood pressure

Lower back pain

Digestive problems: poor appetite, nausea or vomiting

Dizziness

Itching skin

Chronic Kidney Disease patients always experience different symptoms due to the difference of illness condition. If you want to learn about the other symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease, you can consult our consultant online or leave message to us directly.

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What Are the Treatments for Chronic Kidney Disease?

In early stage of Chronic Kidney Disease, oral medicines are necessary for patients to control their kidney problems. The most commonly used medicines include ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor blockers, Beta-blocker, Diuretics, Erythropoietin and so on.

Aside from these, there are some other treatment methods for Chronic Kidney Disease patients who still have a certain kidney function and they are:

Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy

Immunotherapy

Polluted Blood Therapy

Traditional Chinese Medicine

For these whose kidneys have been injured completely, the only two options are:

Dialysis

Kidney Transplant

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Dietary Suggestions for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

Diet for Chronic Kidney Disease patients varies from individual to individual, as it is closely related with patient's specific illness condition. Although there is no such a food list that is beneficial or suitable for all the Chronic Kidney Disease patients, they generally need to:

Limit protein intake: Protein is necessary, but high protein intake will increase kidney burden and worsen illness condition. In daily life, CKD patients can ingest some high quality protein which can be found in lean meat, egg white, fish and milk and so on.

Follow low-salt diet: High salt intake not only elevates blood pressure, but also contributes to swelling. Therefore, a low-salt diet is very essential and this needs patients to avoid pickled and try to add less salt while cooking.

Adjust potassium intake and phosphorus intake: When lab tests show high levels of potassium and phosphorus level in blood, foods high in potassium and phosphorus need to be avoided.

Limit fluid intake if there are swelling.

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