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Chronic Kidney Disease

Nephrology & Hypertension serving Middle Tennessee

Chronic Kidney Disease services offered throughout Middle tennessee

Chronic kidney disease affects an estimated 15% of all adults in the United States. Of those, nearly half aren’t aware that their health is at risk from reduced kidney function. Patients with chronic kidney disease can receive the comprehensive medical care they need from the team at Southern Kidney Specialists, which has locations throughout Middle Tennessee. Call the nearest office or request an appointment online today. 

What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) refers to the loss of kidney function, a problem that develops slowly over the years when your kidneys become damaged. The damage may stabilize, or it can progressively worsen, eventually leading to kidney failure.

Healthy kidneys are essential for many reasons. They filter excess water and toxic wastes out of your bloodstream, help produce red blood cells, control your blood pressure, and maintain strong bones. Your kidneys also regulate sodium, potassium, and calcium levels in your blood.

What causes chronic kidney disease?

The top two causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure. Both conditions damage the small blood vessels inside your kidneys that filter your blood.

You can develop CKD from many other problems, including:

  • Toxic drugs
  • Infections
  • Lupus nephritis
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • IgA glomerulonephritis
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • CKD is also associated with exposure to some industrial and occupational chemicals.

What symptoms develop due to chronic kidney disease?

Your kidneys can adapt and keep working through years of progressive damage. As a result, you may not develop symptoms until the disease has caused irreversible kidney damage.

Once symptoms develop, you experience:

  • Edema (swelling) of your legs, feet, or ankles
  • Dry skin
  • Itching
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea 
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased or decreased urination

Many patients with CKD also have a hard time sleeping. 

How is chronic kidney disease treated?

Treatment for CKD focuses on controlling your symptoms, slowing disease progression, and limiting your risk of developing complications. 

Your CKD care plan includes a special diet to reduce the stress on your kidneys and treatment for underlying health problems. Your provider closely monitors your kidney function so they can quickly identify disease progression. Then they modify your treatment plan to meet your needs. 

When your kidneys lose 85-90% of their ability to function, you need dialysis to take over the job of your kidneys.

If you need experienced care for chronic kidney disease, call Southern Kidney Specialists, or request an appointment online today.