Kidney Diseases

Kidney Diseases

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs. Each kidney is about the size of a fist. Your kidneys filter extra water and wastes out of your blood and make urine. Kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should. Kidney disease means your kidneys aren’t working properly and are beginning to lose their function. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) worsens over time. High blood pressure and diabetes are two common causes of CKD. There’s no cure for CKD, but you can take steps to preserve function for as long as possible. Late-stage kidney disease requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD and chronic renal disease) means that there’s damage to your kidneys and they aren’t working as well as they should. Your kidneys are like a filter in your body — filtering out wastes, toxins and extra water from your blood. They also help with other functions like bone and red blood cell health. When your kidneys begin to lose their function, they can’t filter waste, which means the waste builds up in your blood. Kidney disease is called “chronic” because kidney function slowly decreases over time. CKD can lead to kidney failure, which is also called end-stage kidney disease. Not everyone with CKD will develop kidney failure, but the disease will often worsen without treatment. There’s no cure for chronic kidney disease. But there are steps you can take to slow kidney damage. Treatments like dialysis and transplantation are options for kidney failure (end-stage kidney disease).

What are the symptoms of chronic kidney disease?

In the early stages of kidney disease, you usually don’t have noticeable symptoms. As the disease worsens, symptoms may include:

  • A need to pee more often.
  • Tiredness, weakness, low energy level.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Swelling of your hands, feet and ankles.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Foamy or bubbly pee.
  • Puffy eyes.
  • Dry and itchy skin.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Trouble sleeping.