Most of us tend to take our kidneys for granted until something goes wrong. We expect our kidneys to filter and return about two hundred quarts of fluid to our bloodstream every twenty-four hours. During that time, only about two quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine.
This filtering cycle continues throughout our life, and as long as our kidneys remain healthy, we don’t give them a second thought.
During the early stages of kidney disease, we generally don’t have any symptoms. It is therefore, vitally important that you have your doctor perform tests if you fall in a high-risk category.
You may be at risk for chronic kidney disease if you:
- Are older
- Have high blood pressure
- Are diabetic
- Have a family history of kidney disease
- Are African American, Hispanic American, Asian, Pacific Islander, or American Indian
- Have been using large numbers of over-the-counter pain relievers for a long time
- Have been exposed to toxins, such as pesticides
- Have been using “street” drugs, such as heroin or crack
Consult your doctor if you have:
- Less energy and feel more tired
- Trouble concentrating
- A poor appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle cramping at night
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
- Dry, itchy skin
- A need to urinate more often, especially at night
Are there treatments available for kidney disease?
The exact causes of some kidney diseases are still unknown, and specific treatments are not yet available for them. However, most of us can benefit from keeping our high blood pressure and diabetes under control. Early diagnosis is key to preventing chronic kidney disease from progressing to kidney failure. A diet low in protein and potassium as well as regular exercise are just some of the recommendations that your doctor will make if you have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
What about severe cases of kidney disease?
Sometimes, chronic kidney disease may progress to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in nine American adults has chronic kidney disease, and most don’t know it. The Foundation therefore urges everyone to learn the risk factors and get their kidneys checked out.
Originally published on Not Just the Kitchen