Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is nicknamed the silent killer because it usually does not cause any symptoms until it is in an advanced stage and is already irreversible. “It is a forgotten pathology, even by health policies, and it is only treated when there is no cure and the only thing that can be done is to alleviate the symptoms,” explains the best urologist in Noida.
In the terminal phase of this disease, the kidneys stop performing their function and survival is only possible with renal replacement therapy: dialysis or a kidney transplant. However, if it is detected when it is still very early, it is possible to stop its development by treating the pathologies that cause this renal deterioration (diabetes and hypertension, above all) and with a healthy lifestyle, explains the urologist in Noida.
“There really isn’t a clear symptom because normally there is no pain,” says the urologist in Greater Noida. These are some of the warning signs that can warn of the existence of a kidney disease. But beware! These signs usually appear when the problem is already advanced, that is, in the first three phases of the 5 with which the progression of the disease is described:
- Fluid retention that results, among other things, in swollen ankles.
- Changes in how your urine looks and how often you pee.
- Tiredness and fatigue.
- Citrin color of the skin.
- Rashes, itching.
In the initial phases (1, 2 and 3a) of chronic kidney disease, according to the urologist in Ghaziabad, some more subtle changes can be seen, such as the presence of foam in the urine, which could indicate (although not always because it can be something specific) the presence of protein in the urine. However, urologist in Ghaziabad clarifies that to detect this sign “it is necessary to look very closely, but the general population is not used to paying attention to aspects such as the amount of urine, the color, if it is very concentrated or diluted … We lack a lot of information and education about”.
Blood and urine tests
Blood tests that are routinely performed on the healthy population both in health centers and in company medical check-ups usually include a marker of kidney function, creatinine, which is an enzyme that is eliminated in the kidney and is produced by the metabolism of the muscles. “It has to be around 0.9 and 1.1, that is, around 1”, indicates the president of Alcer. “If it is a little higher, there is a kidney problem”, says the best urologist in Ghaziabad.
Despite the fact that it is a very good marker and “if you have it altered it is a sure indicator of kidney failure”, it only detects the existence of problems of a certain severity (from stages 3-4 of kidney disease), since in the incipient phases the creatinine levels are usually fine.
To evaluate the functioning of the kidneys in these early stages, it is necessary to resort to the gromerular filtration rate, which measures what the kidney is capable of filtering. It is calculated using a mathematical formula that compares a person’s height, age, gender, and race to their serum creatinine levels.
“If both the glomerular filtration rate and the 24-hour urine sample were included in the analyzes carried out in primary care, many more cases of chronic kidney disease would be detected and early detection would be made,” urologist in Vaishali highlights.
Prevention before it’s too late
But since it is not possible to carry out systematic tests on all people and against all pathologies, those that should pay more attention to their kidney function are those that present a higher risk of chronic kidney disease, which are:
- Patients with hypertension.
- Diabetic patients.
- Patients with established cardiovascular disease.
- Relatives of patients with chronic kidney disease.
In these groups, the estimation of the glomerular filtration rate in a blood sample and the determination of the albumin/creatinine ratio in a urine sample are recommended as a systematic screening or analysis method. It has been proven that early detection of those affected by this silent killer and its treatment decrease cardiovascular complications and the speed of progression of kidney disease, explains the best urologist in Noida.
As for the rest of the population, the essential thing is to keep in mind that advanced age, obesity, a diet with excess sodium, the abuse of medications, a sedentary lifestyle, the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs… factors that increase the probability of suffering kidney diseases. Therefore, the best way to prevent chronic kidney disease is a healthy lifestyle. It is advisable not to lower our guard because it is a very common problem: it is estimated that approximately 10% of the population suffers from some type of kidney disease.