A Complete Guide to Understanding and Managing Kidney Disease

8 Diet Tips to Help Prevent or Manage Chronic Kidney Disease | Everyday  Health

Kidney disease is a chronic condition where your kidneys lose their ability to filter blood effectively, accumulating waste products and fluid in your body. Symptoms may include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, swelling in your hands and feet, and changes in urine output. Devaraj Munikrishnappa, M.D. specializes in diagnosing and treating acute and chronic kidney disease and can help you develop an effective treatment plan to restore the proper functioning of your kidneys.

Signature symptoms of kidney disease

The signature symptom of kidney disease is a change in urination patterns, which can include producing less urine than usual, having difficulty or pain when urinating, or experiencing frequent urges to urinate, especially at night. You may also experience fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and high blood pressure. In the advanced stages of kidney disease, you may experience loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and anemia. Your symptoms will vary depending on the underlying cause of the condition. Kidney disease may sometimes be asymptomatic, and your doctor can only detect it through routine blood or urine tests.

Risk factors for kidney disease

There are several risk factors for CKD, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. High blood pressure can destroy the blood vessels in your kidneys, leading to reduced blood flow and decreased kidney function, while diabetes can damage the small kidney filtering units called nephrons. Other risk factors for CKD include smoking, a family history of kidney disease, and certain medical conditions such as lupus and polycystic kidney disease.

Additionally, lifestyle factors such as a diet high in salt, sugar, and processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle with little exercise may increase your risk of kidney disease.

Diagnostic techniques for kidney disease

During your initial appointment at Houston Kidney Specialists Center, your provider may perform a physical exam and review your medical history. They may also ask about your symptoms and any medications you are taking. The team may order blood and urine tests to measure levels of certain substances that can indicate kidney function, such as creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and albumin. If these tests show abnormalities, they may order further tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, to visualize your kidneys and look for signs of damage or disease. A kidney biopsy may also help to determine the underlying cause of the kidney disease and guide treatment decisions.

Available treatments for kidney disease

Your treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause and the stage of the disease. In the early stages, your provider may recommend medications and lifestyle changes such as controlling blood pressure, managing diabetes and maintaining a healthy diet to slow down the progression of the disorder. Your provider may recommend dialysis or a kidney transplant if the disease is more advanced. Dialysis is a procedure that filters your blood artificially and removes waste products and excess fluid from your body. A kidney transplant involves surgically replacing the damaged kidney with a healthy one from a healthy donor. Many prefer this option, as it provides the best chance of restoring kidney function and improving quality of life.

For more information about kidney disease, call the Houston Kidney Specialists Center office or schedule an appointment online.

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