Recognizing National Kidney Month

Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. About 31 million people in the country have chronic kidney disease.

Also known as chronic kidney failure, chronic kidney disease is the term used to describe the gradual loss of kidney function. It usually occurs as a result of a condition that impairs the kidney function, which over time can cause serious damage to the kidneys.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and polycystic kidney disease are some of the conditions that can eventually lead to chronic kidney failure.

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Failure

The signs and symptoms of chronic kidney failure usually develop over time. You may have a chronic kidney disease if you experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Changes in sleeping pattern (having difficulty falling and staying asleep)
  • Changes in how much you urinate
  • Persistent itching
  • Muscle cramps and twitches
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficult to control high blood pressure

Seeking Medical Care

If you suspect that you have kidney disease, or if you have a condition that increases your risk, it’s best to see a Nephrologist, a doctor who specializes in kidney problems.

Unmanaged kidney disease can lead to serious complications like pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), heart disease, elevated potassium level, damage to the central nervous system, and weakened bones. It can also lead to irreversible kidney damage, which may eventually require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Treatment options for chronic kidney disease depend on its underlying cause. The goal of these treatments is usually to help manage the signs and symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.

The Premier Surgical Vascular Access Center in Knoxville offers comprehensive on-site diagnostic expertise and educational services to patients at risk for chronic kidney disease. We also work with kidney patients to maintain their vascular access post operation and have an on-site Access Coordinator. For more information, please visit the Premier Vascular Access & Imaging webpage.

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