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What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

What are the kidney's main functions?

  • Removes wastes and fluid from your body, your kidneys perform these other important jobs.
  • Regulate your body water and other chemicals in your blood such as sodium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium.
  • Remove drugs and toxins introduced into your body.
  • Release hormones into your blood to help your body regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells, and promote strong bones.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, you may notice that you:

  • Feel more tired and have less energy
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Have a poor appetite
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Have muscle cramping at night
  • Have swollen feet and ankles
  • Have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
  • Have dry, itchy skin
  • Need to urinate more often, especially at night.

Anyone can get chronic kidney disease at any age. However, some people are more likely than others to develop kidney disease. You may have an increased risk for kidney disease if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a family history of chronic kidney disease
  • Are older
  • Belong to a population group that has a high rate of diabetes or high blood pressure, such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians.

For more information on kidney disease and related conditions, contact any of the following organizations:

National Kidney Foundation, Inc.
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 1-800-622-9010
Website: http://www.kidney.org/

American Association of Kidney Patients
3505 E. Frontage Rd.
Suite 315
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 1-800-749-2257
Website: http://www.aakp.org/

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