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Chronic kidney disease



Chronic kidney disease is a progressive loss of kidney function over a period of months and years. There are numerous causes, which include other diseases like, hypertension, diabetes, glomerulonephritis etc. Other causes are ingestion of fake and expired drugs, the indiscriminate use of drugs like analgesics, consumption of fast foods and food from vendors in unhygienic environment.

Even the ‘dead’ food that we cook and eat daily in our homes can also cause chronic kidney disease. Certain practices that people embark upon have been implicated in this disease. Practices like over consumption of alcohol, smoking and ingestion of caffeinated beverages. Almost all these causes ultimately give rise to increased acid build up (acidosis) in the body. If this be the case, then we have to consider other well known causes of acidosis. I am referring to dehydration. In a dehydrated person, the blood becomes more viscous and the circulation more sluggish. This will most definitely affect the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys.

Another source of acid in the body is the colon. I have shown in the past that the colon is an important structure that can cause diseases anywhere in the body depending on its condition. In a person who is frequently constipated a lot of acid is released from the colon, which adds up to the acidosis due to dehydration. As time goes on, the kidneys experiencing a decline in function (reduction in urine production), will begin to retain the acid forming minerals thereby increasing the acidosis; the organ which should regulate the pH of the body fluids is failing seriously in its function.

Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease
The early symptoms of CKD could be the symptoms of other diseases and they may be the only signs until the disease is well advanced. The symptoms may include: headache, tiredness, generally feeling unwell, nausea, vomiting, weight loss (unexplained), pruritus (itching of the skin) and dry skin.

When the condition has gotten worse and kidney function has become more severely impaired the following symptoms can be observed: bone pain, the skin may become abnormally dark or light.

Nervous system symptoms at this stage are: confusion, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, cramps and numbness of the feet and fingers. Added to these are increased feeling of thirst and frequent hiccups, easy bruising and bleeding, breath odor, decreased libido and amenorrhea (cessation of menstruation). Also seen are such conditions as sleeplessness, shortness of breath and swelling of the feet and hands. Experiencing these symptoms should be a wakeup call for routine medical checkup and investigations.

Routine investigations
Blood Tests: By far the most important tests that should be carried out to check the working condition of the kidneys are: Serum Creatinine levels, Creatinine Clearance and Blood Urea Nitrogen.

Creatinine is a by-product of muscular metabolism, which is produced when creatine, an organic nitrogenous acid, primarily found in the muscle of vertebrates is metabolized to produce energy in form of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). Approximately two per cent of creatine in the body is converted into creatinine daily. Creatinine thus formed, is transported through the blood stream to the kidneys where they are eliminated in the urine. Serum creatinine level rises when the kidney function becomes impaired like in kidney disease.

Glomerular Filtration Rate, which measures the amount of creatinine that is cleared from the body by the kidneys is a more accurate measurement of the function of the kidney. In chronic kidney disease as expected the filtration rate is impaired. Otherwise

Electrolytes and urea is a blood test that determines the function of the kidneys by measuring the levels of the minerals and urea in the blood. Chronic kidney disease affects the levels of these minerals in the body and estimating their levels is highly indicated in order to determine the status of the kidneys.

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Chronic kidney disease
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