Home Chronic Kidney Disease Medications What Is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

What Is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

by BidRx Team
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  • What is chronic kidney disease? It is a progressive, widespread condition that affects the kidneys.
  • Chronic kidney disease damages kidney function and raises the risk of strokes and heart disease.
  • Early detection and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease.
  • Use BidRx to find the lowest price for your chronic kidney disease medications.

Chronic kidney disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S. It’s a tricky disease to manage because there are no early symptoms of kidney failure. CKD can cause a number of complications, most of which can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication. The only treatments for end-stage kidney disease are dialysis and kidney transplant.

What Is Chronic Kidney Disease?

The kidneys are the organs that filter the blood in your body. If they are unable to fulfill this role, your blood goes unfiltered. The most common cause of death among CKD sufferers is heart disease resulting from blood impurities. 

CKD is considered a chronic disease because the damage it causes to your kidneys is gradual. The disease does not produce early symptoms and may go unnoticed until it becomes advanced. Thirty-seven million people have CKD, but 40% of people with reduced kidney function don’t know they have it. 

When the kidneys can no longer filter excess fluid and waste from the blood and eliminate them through urine, the first CKD symptoms appear. Every day, 360 people have kidney failure and start dialysis treatment. 

Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms

The kidneys are sturdy organs that do their job exceedingly well. They work so well that you can donate one kidney and have the remaining one take over and keep you healthy. 

The problem with this resilience is that you don’t notice when CKD takes hold and begins degrading your kidney function. By the time symptoms surface, the disease has caused severe damage to your kidneys. To make matters worse, CKD symptoms are nonspecific. They can also be signs of many other diseases and health conditions. 

What are the symptoms that can give you a clue about CKD? Depending on the severity of the disease, you may experience: 

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Insomnia and sleep disorders
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in urination habits
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble focusing
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Weight loss

CKD can lead to fluid buildup in various organs, like the lung, around the heart, etc. Fluid buildup can cause specific symptoms like: 

  • Shortness of breath if the fluid accumulates in the lungs
  • Chest pains if the fluid buildup occurs in the lining of the heart
  • Swelling ankles and feet if the fluid builds up in the extremities
  • Puffy face, especially around the eyes, if the fluid affects the face 

As the kidney function worsens, the symptoms get more severe. CKD is a serious disease. Patients are five to ten times more likely to die than to reach the end stage of the disease. 

Chronic Kidney Disease Causes

Measuring blood pressure

High blood pressure can be a cause and a consequence of CKD.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common causes of CKD. Out-of-control blood sugar wreaks havoc throughout the body, affecting organs like the blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys. 

High blood pressure can cause CKD, and CKD can cause high blood pressure. The same is true of heart disease. 

Other possible causes of CKD are: 

  • Inherited diseases. Conditions like polycystic kidney disease can damage the tissues of the kidney and the organ itself.
  • Glomerulonephritis. This inflammatory disease can affect the tissues of the kidney, leading to CKD and other problems.
  • Autoimmune diseases. When the immune system overreacts and attacks the tissues of the body, it can damage the kidney and other organs.
  • Pre-birth malformations. The kidney and the urinary tract may suffer malformations in the womb before birth. These disorders can cause CKD.
  • Urinal reflux. This is a condition that causes urine to flow back into the kidneys.

Repeated urinary tract infections, an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and kidney tumors can also lead to CKD. 

Chronic Kidney Disease Risk Factors

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the top risk factors for CKD. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop CKD and the conditions that may cause it. There is a two-way link between heart disease and CKD. If you suffer from heart disease, you may develop CKD. 

Some of the factors that facilitate CKD are hereditary. If people in your family have kidney failure, you are more likely to develop the disease. 

If you belong to a racial or ethnic group that is more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes, you are at a higher risk for CKD. 

Chronic Kidney Disease Diagnosis

Given its nonspecific symptoms, chronic kidney disease is difficult to diagnose. Urine and blood tests can give them clues, but doctors often discover it by chance. Kidney biopsies can confirm the presence or absence of the disease. 

Chronic Kidney Disease Complications

CKD can cause other diseases. There are interdependencies between CKD, heart disease, and high blood pressure. One disease can either result from or cause another. This triangle is a self-perpetuating spiral of poor quality of life and high risk of death. 

In some patients, CKD can cause heart attacks and strokes. Those with CKD may acquire acute kidney injury from medication or sickness. 

Other problems CKD can cause are: 

  • Loss of libido
  • Central nervous system damage
  • Anemia
  • Decreased immunity
  • Inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart
  • Fluid retention
  • High potassium 
  • Pregnancy complications

Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment

Doctors have several options to slow the progression of this disease. Your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes. They will also address the causes of your kidney failure by treating high blood pressure and/or diabetes. They may also resort to cholesterol medication to reduce blood pressure and the likelihood of strokes and heart disease. 

Healthcare providers can also treat the complications, which can include: 

  • Protein intake. Limiting protein intake can reduce the amount of waste in the blood.
  • Bone health. Vitamin D and calcium supplements can protect the bones.
  • Anemia. Some supplements can treat anemia.
  • Swelling. Medications exist that reduce swelling.
  • High potassium. In certain cases, doctors may prescribe sodium zirconium cyclosilicate to treat high potassium in CKD patients.

If you suffer from CKD, have your doctor check your condition regularly. 

End-stage kidney disease requires dialysis, the artificial filtration of blood. Doctors may also recommend kidney transplants for those whose kidneys have stopped working. 

Get the Lowest Price for Chronic Kidney Disease Medications

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Chronic kidney disease medication can be costly, and managing this disease requires a long-term commitment. To minimize the financial impact of the medications, ensure that you get the lowest possible price for your CKD medications. 

With BidRx, you can create a bid and have pharmacies compete for your business. The one offering you the lowest price gets to deliver your CKD medications. 

Find your chronic kidney disease and other medicines on our medication page and place your bid today. 

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