Meet Your Local Kidney Expert
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For a comprehensive overview of chronic kidney disease (CKD), from basic terminology to risk factors and matching a treatment option to your lifestyle, DaVita has all the in-depth information CKD patients and their care partners need.
Understanding your kidney disease, or renal disease, is the first step in taking control of your health. When you have kidney disease, your kidneys are no longer able to remove waste effectively from your body or to balance your fluids. The build up of wastes can change the chemistry of your body causing some symptoms that you can feel, and others that you don't.
With kidney diseases, the first symptoms you may have are ones that you won't feel but that will show up in tests that your doctor orders. Common problems are high blood pressure, anemia and weakening bones. It is important to find a kidney doctor (also called a nephrologist). Partner closely with your doctor and your healthcare team as early as possible.
Your kidneys -- two bean-shaped organs located in your lower back -- are your body's filtration system, cleaning wastes and extra fluids from your body and producing and balancing chemicals that are necessary for your body to function. Healthy kidneys also:
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) comes in stages and knowing your stage is important for deciding treatment. CKD has five stages, ranging from nearly normal kidney function (stage 1) to kidney failure (stage 5), which requires dialysis or kidney transplant.
Understanding your stage can help you learn how to take control and slow the progression of kidney disease. The stages of renal disease are not based on symptoms alone. Instead, they reflect how effectively the kidneys eliminate waste from the blood by using an equation that estimates kidney function, known as glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Determining your GFR requires a simple blood test.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the top causes of kidney diseases. Another form of CKD is glomerulonephritis, a general term for many types of kidney inflammation. Genetic diseases (such as polycystic kidney disease, or PKD), autoimmune diseases, birth defects, acute kidney failure and other problems can also cause kidney disease. Take a 3-minute Kidney Disease Risk Quiz to see if youâ€™re at risk for renal disease (located in the DaVita Educational Tools section).
Ways to take control:
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