What do my kidneys do?
Kidneys help to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body as well as removing drugs from the body, release hormones that regulate blood pressure, produce vitamin D that for strong, healthy bones, and control the production of red blood cells.
Where are my kidneys and how do they work?
There are two kidneys on either side of the spine at the level of the bottom of the rib cage. The kidneys act as a filter for the blood, removing waste and fluid which is then excreted from the body though urine. The kidney filters approximately 200 quarts of fluid every day.
What causes CKD?
The two main causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure. These two medical conditions account for over two thirds of all cases. Other common causes include glomerulonephritis; inherited diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, Lupus and other diseases that affect the body's immune system; as well as obstructions like kidney stones, tumors, or an enlarged prostate gland in men.
What are the symptoms of CKD?
Many people with CKD may not have any symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced; however, some common symptoms are feeling more tired and having less energy, having trouble concentrating, poor appetite, difficulty sleeping, muscle cramping at night, swollen feet and ankles, puffiness around your eyes, dry, itchy skin, and the need to urinate more often, especially at night.
Can CKD be treated?
Yes, many kidney diseases can be treated successfully. Taking care of other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are important. Kidney stones and urinary tract infections can usually be treated successfully. Sometimes, chronic kidney disease may progress to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.
What are the high-risk groups for CKD?
High-risk groups include people with diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension) and family history of kidney disease. African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and senior citizens are at increased risk.
How can I find out if I have CKD?
Some simple tests can be done to detect early kidney disease. They are:
- Blood pressure measurement;
- A test for protein in the urine;
- A test for blood creatinine.
Your doctor should use your results, along with your age, race, gender, and other factors, to calculate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which tells how much kidney function you have. If you think you may have an increased risk for kidney disease, ask your doctor about getting tested.