If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), you may be wondering how that came to be….and you’re not alone. About 14% of people in the US have CKD at any given time, so there are many others wondering the same thing. This disease of the kidneys describes a gradual loss of kidney function over time. The condition has several risk factors. So what are the top causes of CKD? And is there anything you can do to manage these causes?
This occurs in almost half of CKD cases. Having diabetes means your body does not make enough insulin or cannot regulate it properly. Insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, can cause many problems, including within the kidneys.
Diabetes causes injury to the small blood vessels in the body by impacting blood circulation within the glomerulus. The earliest sign of diabetes affecting your kidney is the finding of protein in your urine (microalbuminuria).
Some of the major risk factors are poor blood sugar control, hypertension, smoking, male sex, family history.
So how do we detect diabetes affecting your kidney?
This can be done with a simple urine sample: we check urine for protein and urine for creatinine. To quantify the amount of protein in the urine more precisely we have you collect your urine for 24 hours to give us a more accurate estimate.
Learn About: Managing Diabetes
Hypertension (high blood pressure) and CKD link together in a cause-and-effect relationship. Since your kidneys help to regulate blood pressure, it is obvious that one may have difficulty in regulating their BP as the kidney function gets worse. Hypertension itself is also a cause of chronic kidney disease. It is both the cause and effect of kidney disease. Dietary changes and /or medications are means to lower BP.
Learn About: Addressing High Blood Pressure
Each functional unit of the kidney is called a nephron – and each nephron has 2 parts, the glomerulus and the tubule. There are various types of conditions which can affect your glomeruli (for which one may need a kidney biopsy to diagnose). As a result, kidney function declines. Waste may build up increasing your blood urea nitrogen levels (BUN). Protein and/or red blood cells may begin to leak into the urine. Large amounts of protein in the urine can lead to fluid retention which often manifests with swollen legs, shortness of breath (if fluid accumulates in your lungs), puffy eyes and a swollen face (more so in the mornings).
Learn About: More About Glomerular Disease
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Polycystic Kidney Disease, or PKD, happens when fluid-filled cysts form within the kidneys. These cysts will grow in size and kidney function declines. This is because the cyst compress the neighboring nephrons (functional units of the kidney) The decline in kidney function is proportional to the size of the cysts. If left untreated, PKD can lead to CKD and eventually End Stage Renal Disease as the kidneys continue to fail.
Learn About: PKD Management
The four causes listed above are not the only reasons people get CKD. They just account for the majority of causes. There are still a handful of others that can cause the disease as well. Here are some more risk factors:
- Age (>65 years)
- Too much alcohol
- Family history
- Heart disease
- Ibuprofen use
- Low birth weight
- Autoimmune disease
- Kidney stones & recurring UTIs
- African American or other ethnic minorities
Concerned about the Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease?
If you are concerned about CKD, you should consult with a nephrologist. Dr. Gandotra’s offices are located in Orange County, California. If you’d like to book an appointment today, call Dr. G’s office phone: (714) 435-0150