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“Just because it comes in pairs, doesn’t mean you may value one less,” as the saying goes. This is especially true when it comes to one’s kidneys. Despite the fact that the human body is blessed with two critical organs, kidney failure and other kidney disorders are common and seem to be on the rise.
The main focus for medical professionals around the world on this World Kidney Day is to educate people and raise awareness about the fact that illnesses are more common than one might think, and that even minor lifestyle changes and decisions can result in major setbacks in one’s kidney health and condition.
According to studies, Chronic Kidney Disorder (CKD) is becoming more common, and reportedly 1 in 7 adults suffer from it. The major function of the kidneys is to filter blood and regulate the salt, potassium, and acid content of the body by removing waste and excess fluid. CKD is a dangerous and progressive disorder defined by diminishing kidney function in those who have Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney disease.
Despite its high frequency, CKD is a ‘silent’ disease, meaning most people don’t notice symptoms until it has progressed to more advanced stages. Patients with CKD may be at higher risk for various illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and more, in addition to kidney function decline. End-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is caused by a reduction in kidney function that can only be treated with dialysis (a therapy that helps eliminate waste products, excess fluid, and potassium) or a kidney transplant to keep the body working after the kidneys fail.
Because CKD symptoms may not develop until later in the disease’s progression, it’s critical to have continuing conversations with your doctor so you’re aware of your risk factors. It’s also crucial to monitor your blood work on a regular basis to assess how well your kidneys are working. Particular blood and urine tests can determine whether or not you have CKD.
Knowing your eGFR, or estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate, which is a measure of how well your kidneys filter waste from the body, is one indicator of renal health and a key aspect of managing CKD. This test is performed as part of normal blood work. The urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio test, which examines for excess protein (albumin) in the urine, is another crucial test to confirm CKD. Kidney disease is indicated by a high urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio.
In case of risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure, it’s critical to detect and treat CKD as soon as possible. Early intervention has been demonstrated to halt disease development, preserve renal function, and lower the risk of developing other CKD-related diseases.
CKD treatments are now available to assist decrease renal disease progression and delay end-stage kidney disease, thanks to the advancement of contemporary therapeutics. Traditionally, CKD has been treated by addressing the underlying risk factors, taking particular medications if there is protein in the urine and high blood pressure, and discontinuing certain medications that may be causing kidney damage. People with CKD risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, should study their blood test findings and speak with their doctor about their eGFR score and the best treatment options for them.