Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as chronic renal disease, is a progressive loss in renal function over a period of months or years.
CKD is initially without specific symptoms and can only be detected as an increase in serum creatinine or protein in the urine. The symptoms of worsening kidney function may include:
- Feeling generally unwell
- Reduced appetite
- Increased blood pressure
- Urea accumulates, leading to azotemia and ultimately uremia
- Potassium accumulates in the blood (known as hyperkalemia)
- Erythropoietin synthesis is decreased
- Metabolic acidosis
People with chronic kidney disease suffer from accelerated atherosclerosis and are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than the general population. Patients afflicted with chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease tend to have significantly worse prognoses than those suffering only from the latter.
People known to be at risk of kidney problems are those with:
- High blood pressure
- Those with a blood relative with chronic kidney disease
Recognized complications of chronic kidney disease include cardiovascular disease, anemia or pericarditis.
The goal of therapy is to slow down or halt the progression of CKD. Control of blood pressure and treatment of the original disease, whenever feasible, are the broad principles of management. In more advanced stages, treatments may be required for anemia and bone disease. Severe CKD cases require either dialysis or a kidney transplant.