Chronic Kidney Disease: Shifting Consumer Values

May 2021

Chronic kidney disease is a term used to describe a group of diseases which gradually impair the kidneys' ability to adequately clean waste from the body, regulate blood pressure and maintain correct water balance.

There are many different kinds of chronic kidney disease, such as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, diabetic nephropathy and polycystic kidney disease. Of these different types of chronic kidney disease, the most common in North America is Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 3 (CKD3). The signs and symptoms can vary from person to person as well as how severe it becomes. The risk factors may include other health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Patients with chronic kidney disease can have no symptoms, mild signs and severe signs. The most common symptoms of chronic kidney disease are:

The signs and symptoms that a patient have depend on how severe the condition is. For example, if a patient has stage 3 of CKD they could have moderate to severe loss of kidney function, therefore the need for special treatments. They may also experience swelling in their legs which is known as edema. If the patient has CKD 11 their kidneys may not be able to remove or process fluid as well as it should which leads to an increase in blood pressure.

There are many modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Some of them include:

There are five stages of chronic kidney disease. All stages can be modifiable and non-modifiable. Each stage has its own set of clinical interventions, management strategies and treatment options. For example, the first stage is glucosuria (mild loss of kidney function). In this specific stage, the person usually does not show any signs or symptoms. The person may not know they have a problem until they have medical checkups. The first stage has been divided into three categories:

There are six clinical stages of CKD. Each category also comes with complications that arise from the patients' condition. Diabetes mellitus is a common non modifiable risk factor for developing kidney failure. Factors which may increase the risk of developing diabetic nephropathy include;

The most common non modifiable risk factors are high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. Being overweight can also cause kidney damage. In some people, the condition of diabetes or high blood pressure can cause kidney damage before they know they have it. Other non-modifiable causes of kidney disease include:

In test tube studies isolated factors that decrease the ability of blood to clot have been shown to be responsible for many chronic diseases including chronic renal failure, coronary artery disease and retinopathies. Recent studies suggest that activation of thrombin is not only able to induce clotting, but also to induce production of reactive oxygen species. These reactive molecules are known to be responsible for oxidative damage in the cells. The study also demonstrated a feedback mechanism where the production of these oxidative molecules resulted in an increased formation of even more thrombin.

A 2014 systematic review indicated that dietary factors may affect CKD outcomes, although a direct relationship was not always observed. Chronic kidney disease is usually diagnosed using blood tests and urine tests on a regular basis. The serum creatinine test provides the most accurate measurement of kidney function, which can be used to monitor disease progression or improvement over time.

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