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Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) affects 26 million Americans, according to the National Kidney Foundation—and millions of others are at increased risk. Early detection can prevent complications such as kidney failure.

What is CKD? CKD is the slow loss of kidney function over a length of time. This disease lowers the kidneys’ ability to remove waste from the body and perform other vital functions. It can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, anemia, nerve damage, heart disease and kidney failure.

Symptoms Here are some symptoms of CKD:

  • Fatigue and lower energy

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Decreased appetite

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Muscle cramps

  • Swollen feet or ankles

  • Puffiness around the eyes

  • Dry, itchy skin

  • Need to urinate more often, especially at night

  • Headaches

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Excessive thirst

  • Bone pain

  • Easy bruising or bleeding

Detecting CKD Most people will not have serious symptoms until advanced stages of CKD; therefore, it is extremely important to test for the disease to diagnose it early. CKD can be detected with a blood pressure screening, among other tests.

Risk Factors Although anyone can get CKD at any age, some have an increased risk for this disease, especially for those to whom the following apply:

  • Have diabetes

  • Have high blood pressure

  • Have a family history of CKD

  • Are older

  • Are of African American, Hispanic, Pacific Island or Native American descent

Treatment and Prognosis Although there is no cure for CKD, treatments are available to help patients control the disease. These include controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, eating nutritiously and getting exercise, not smoking and sometimes taking medication or vitamins. A doctor will recommend a treatment plan based on each individual.


This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional.

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