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What is CKD? The Signs and the Symptoms

What is CKD? The Signs and the Symptoms

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a medical condition in which your kidneys become gradually damaged over time and are not able to filter normally. The kidney filters excess fluid and waste from the blood, which is removed from the body via urine. Chronic kidney disease leads to the accumulation of excessive waste products from the blood in the body.

During early stages, CKD presents few symptoms or signs. People may not even realize they have CKD until it becomes advanced. Specific urine and blood tests are normally required to diagnose CKD.

The signs and symptoms of CKD

Signs and symptoms of CKD develop gradually with kidney damage. The loss of kidney function during CKD progression may cause the following symptoms:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Weakness and fatigue

  • Reduced appetite

  • Sleep problems

  • Muscle cramps

  • Reduced mental sharpness

  • Urination

  • Swelling of lower extremities

  • Hypertension

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms of CKD leading to indirect health issues include:

  • Anemia

  • Risk of infection

  • Decreased appetite

  • Mineral imbalance in the blood

  • Depression and overall low quality-of-life

CKD gradually worsens with time but its progression can be slowed with treatment intervention. Without treatment, CKD results in kidney failure and predisposes the individual to increased risk of heart disease. Kidney failure requires dialysis or worse kidney transplantation. Kidney disease is one of the leading causes of mortality in the USA. Estimates suggest that over 1/3 of individuals with severe kidney dysfunction are not unaware of their disease. Frequent check-ups are the best way to monitor the health of your kidneys.


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