Kidney diseases are the leading cause of death in the US. For National Kidney Month we are focusing in on one of the most common, yet silent conditions: chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is estimated to effect 37 million US adults, but most cases go undiagnosed. 40% of people with severely reduced kidney function are not even aware of having CKD. CKD can be treated, and the earlier treatment starts, the better.
So what warning signs should you be looking out for from your kidney’s? Early CKD has no symptoms, so getting checked if you have the risk factors is crucial. Early CDK can be detected from a blood test where they measure your levels of creatinine (a waste product) in your blood. Symptoms of later stage CDK to be on the lookout for include changes in urination, fatigue, swelling in your extremities, shortness of breath, pain over your kidneys, decreased appetite, or puffiness around the eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should mention them to your doctor to get checked.
Is there anything you can do to prevent damage to your kidney’s from starting? There are actually several ways to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible!
- Stay on top of conditions that can aggravate the kidneys. High blood pressure and diabetes are some of the most common conditions in seniors that, if left untreated, can lead to chronic kidney disease. In the US, they account for 3 out of 4 new cases of kidney failure. Be sure to take any prescribed medicine for these conditions as directed and get regular blood checks to test for CDK.
- See a doctor right away if you suspect that you have a UTI. An untreated UTI can quickly lead to a problem in the kidneys. Sometimes UTI’s can go undetected in seniors because they often present as cognitive decline. Confusion, dizziness or frequent falls, agitation, fatigue, and decreased appetite are some of the common symptoms to appear.
- Practicing standard health tips. Exercise, a well-balanced diet, and keeping stressors low are all ways to increase not only your kidney health, but the health of your whole body.
For more information, check out these resources below!