Most common cause for kidney disease is Hypertension. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the kidneys, reducing their ability to work properly. Kidney function will eventually deteriorate to the point where the kidneys can no longer perform their job properly. High blood pressure not only damage the blood vessels of kidney but also damage the blood vessels of heart and brain leading to heart attack and stroke. If you have other risk factors like cigarette smoking, drinking, obesity, diabetes, kidney stones or infection along with hypertension, it will worsen the situation even more.
Symptoms of kidney disease :
- High or worsening blood pressure
- Swelling of legs
- Decreased or no urine output
- Difficulty in breathing
- Excessive thirst
- Sleep deprivation
- Nausea or vomitings
- Dry skin
- Loss of appetite
How we can diagnose kidney disease in a person with hypertension:
- Your doctor will send you for a urine test in which they can see the albumin levels and do a test to measure albumin-creatinine ratio.
- Blood test for complete blood count will be sent, in which you may see decreased hemoglobin levels. Decreased blood count is often seen in patients with chronic kidney disease because of the lack of erythropoietin (a hormone produced by kidney, responsible red blood cell production).
- Certain laboratory tests can indicate whether your kidneys are eliminating waste products properly. These tests include serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN); elevated levels of either can indicate kidney damage.
- After this is done your doctor will now measure the glomerular filtration rate by which staging of the kidney disease is done.
- An ultrasound is also done to measure the size of kidneys which can also tell us about the kidney disease.
How to treat an prevent kidney disease:
The biggest health risk for people with kidney disease is not actually kidney failure. People with kidney disease are much more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. So if you have kidney disease you need to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Controlling your blood pressure is a very important way to do this.
In the very early stages, kidney disease may need little or no treatment.
- Controlling blood pressure by checking blood pressure on regular basis, maintaining healthy weight, reducing stress, quitting smoking, doing regular physical activity are very important to prevent kidney disease.
- If you have diabetes as well as high blood pressure, it is extremely important to keep them controlled. Diabetes can cause serious damage to your kidneys if it is not treated properly.
- If you have kidney disease, it is very important that you do not use salt substitutes. These products contain a lot of potassium and, if your kidneys are not working properly, potassium can build up, which can lead to health problems.
- Taking regular medication prescribed by your doctor for your blood pressure is also very important. Medications that lower blood pressure can also significantly slow the progression of kidney disease.
- Download an eGFR calculator in your smartphone which can help you to see in which stage of kidney disease you are in, by entering the details like creatinine levels, age, race and gender.