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Chronic kidney disease

Posted Oct 08 2008 12:12am

(Today another guest post by Dr Andrew Weissenberger. Read more about Dr Weissenberger here )

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), commonly also known as chronic renal disease, is a progressive, and generally permanent, loss of kidney function over a period of months or years.

If a permanent loss of more the one-third of kidney function occurs, this is defined as chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney diseas e if often associated with, or linked as a secondary condition to, heart diseases and diabetes.

Chronic kidney disease can lead to chronic kidney failur e. An increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease is found with those who:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Are obese
  • Smoke- men who smoke are three times more likely to have reduced kidney function
  • Are over 50 years of age
  • Are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • Have a family history of kidney disease

The most prevalent causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetic nephropathy, hypertension and glomerulonephritis. These make up for 75% of all adult cases and hence are the major causes of kidney failure. As kidney function decreases the risk of kidney failure will increase.

The major goal of medical treatment will be to slow down or halt the otherwise relentless progression of chronic kidney disease. Control of blood pressure, diet and lifestyle changes and treatment of the original disease, whenever possible, are the broad principles of management to increase the lifespan of the patient’s kidneys. Everyone, however can improve their kidney function simply by drinking more water, especially in the Queensland climate.

This being said, just because you develop kidney disease, it does not mean that you will acquire kidney failure. At least one sign of chronic kidney disease will appear in one out of seven Australian adults over the age of 25 years. Only a few presenting with such kidney problems will have lasting kidney damage, with even fewer developing kidney failure.

Ninety percent of kidney function may be lost before you may even feel sick, hence the reason why the damage and signs of kidney disease may go unnoticed until the kidneys become close to failure. In Australians aged 12 to 74 years, approximately 52,000 have severe cases of kidney damage.

Some causes of kidney disease include:

  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Hypertension
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Reflux nephropathy- a bladder valve problem allowing urine to flow back into the kidneys causing scarring.
  • Medications- some drugs such as lithium and cyclosporine can cause kidney failure. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), taken in normal therapeutic doses, may occasionally cause acute kidney failure.

Hope Island Medical Centre is participating in a local collaborative to try and improve the kidney health of our patients. Please talk to your doctor today.

image credit - PAandLAT

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