According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20 million people in the U.S. have kidney disease. Often, it’s secondary to another condition like diabetes or high blood pressure. While a diagnosis of kidney disease can be worrying, if detected in the early stages it can often be managed successfully.

Kidney Disease: Symptoms

When a person develops kidney disease, the kidneys are no longer able to filter waste products out of the blood; this can give rise to a number of signs and symptoms. There aren’t always noticeable symptoms in the early stages of kidney disease, however, when the disease progresses and as the kidneys become more damaged, the symptoms become noticeable. Signs typically include may swelling of the extremities, itchiness of the skin and fatigue.  Patients often have problems urinating or may experience a frequent need to use the restroom.

Diagnosing Kidney Disease

Diagnosis of Kidney Disease happens through blood and urine tests. Urinalysis will look for the presence of protein or blood in the urine. Blood tests look for elevated levels of creatinine, which is an indication that the kidneys are not functioning properly. Blood tests also look at the Glomerular filtration rate to analyze how efficiently the kidneys are filtering waste.

Managing Underlying Conditions

If you have an underlying condition that makes you more vulnerable to kidney disease, you need to work in partnership with your medical team to manage it effectively. For instance, if you’re diabetic then managing your blood sugars and getting regular blood and urine tests to check kidney function will be vital. Likewise, patients with high blood pressure need to keep it under control to limit damage to the kidneys.

Managing and Reducing the Risk of Kidney Disease

Management strategies will include looking at the medications you’ve been prescribed. Drugs like anti-inflammatories or gabapentin can affect kidney function so your doctor may advise you to use an alternative. Kidney disease is easy to manage in the early stages. Your medical team is likely to monitor progress, prescribe medications to manage symptoms, and suggest lifestyle changes.

A healthy lifestyle is key to reducing your risk of developing kidney disease. This means eating a balanced diet and monitoring alcohol intake. In addition, salt intake should be kept at the minimum and patients are advised stop tobacco use.

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. For more information, please visit the Premier Vascular Access & Imaging webpage.