What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
CKD, also known as kidney or renal failure, occurs when kidney function diminishes over time. Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and other conditions can lead to CKD, but the most common cause is diabetes.
What do the kidneys do?
The kidneys’ main job is to act as a filter for the blood. As blood passes through the kidneys, waste that can be toxic to the system is removed and metabolized. This is the body’s way of keeping the blood clean. Kidney disease impairs the kidneys’ ability to do this job, thereby allowing harmful toxins to build up in the body. Depending on the stage of kidney disease, they may have lost anywhere from 50% of their normal kidney function to 100%, resulting in complete renal failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Identifying the stages of CKD
The stages of CKD are measured by tests that evaluate level of kidney function, primarily through a test called the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR measures how well the kidneys are filtering the blood. A normal GFR is usually measured at 90 mL/min/1.73 m2 or above. Patients with stage 1 CKD may still have a normal GFR, while patients who have ESRD may have a GFR of 15 mL/min/1.73 m2 or less. Learn more about the stages of CKD.
Is kidney disease curable?
Although CKD is not curable, there are medical treatments, lifestyle adjustments, and natural supplements such as probiotics that can help your loved one feel better and maintain their kidney function. One of the best things to remember and to remind anyone you know who has kidney disease is that CKD does not have to stop patients from enjoying a full and productive life.