March is National Kidney Month and with that in mind, we’d like to highlight this important health issue that affects more than 30 million Americans nationwide.
What is Kidney Disease?
As the body’s main filtration system, the kidneys are responsible for cleaning excess fluid and waste from our blood. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the slow decline of kidney function, which can ultimately lead to total kidney failure. As the kidneys began to lose function, waste builds up in the body and becomes toxic. Kidney disease can be fatal if it reaches what is known as end-stage kidney failure.
CKD is insidious because many patients in kidney failure don’t experience any symptoms. By some estimates, 96% of people in stage 1 and 2 kidney failure aren’t even aware of it. At this point, the only treatments available for CKD are dialysis and kidney transplant.
What Causes Kidney Disease?
Kidney failure only occurs when a prior condition hinders kidney functionality and causes damage to the kidneys themselves. This damage will worsen over time until it develops into full-fledged kidney failure. These causes and conditions include recurrent kidney infection, Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, and inflammation of the kidneys’ filters or tubules.
In addition, smoking, high blood pressure, old age, obesity, and a family history of kidney disease can all increase the risk of kidney failure.
Types of Kidney Failure
There a several forms of kidney failure that ultimately result in chronic kidney disease. Similar to the above-mentioned conditions that can make a person predisposed to developing CKD, these forms of kidney failure all cause damage that paves the way for CKD and total kidney failure.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Commonly referred to as PKD, Polycystic Kidney Disease is a genetic condition that causes cysts to grow on the kidneys, enlarging them and severely damaging kidney tissue. PKD comes in two forms: autosomal dominant PKD and autosomal recessive PKD. Autosomal dominant is often called adult PKD as it is most prominent in people between 30 to 50 years old. By contrast, symptoms of autosomal recessive PKD, or “infantile PKD,” can be detected before birth.
Renal Cell Carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma is a form of cancer that develops in the tiny filters of the kidneys. In its early stages, it’s hard to detect, and because of this it often spreads to surrounding organs by the time symptoms begin to show.
Lupus Nephritis is a term used to refer to the swelling and irritation of the kidneys caused by the autoimmune disease, lupus. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own body. With lupus, the immune system attacks the kidneys and can catastrophic damage. The most dangerous form of lupus nephritis is called proliferative nephritis, which causes scarring on the kidneys
Effects on Daily Life
CKD is a painful condition that can be debilitating in its late stages. The kidneys themselves are not the source of their pain, but once they’ve begun to fail, waste builds up in the body and can cause numerous complication.
A 2011 study found that people diagnosed with CKD had difficulty performing some of the most basic activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, performing housework, preparing meals, and getting out of bed.
Many patients diagnosed with CKD will eventually need in-home care if they wish to continue living independently. In our next article, we’ll review treatment options and how home care can assist those who’ve been diagnosed.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier and independent life.
We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. We take a holistic approach and emphasize a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term postoperative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.