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Every third person in this country is at risk for developing kidney disease. It’s likely that you have a family member, neighbor or friend who already has it.
Kidney disease typically has no symptoms, allowing you to be in the advanced stages before you even detect it. Yet a simple urine test and blood test can reveal if you do have it. It is important to get tested early for best treatment options, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Since kidney disease is a progressive disease, there are certain symptoms identified with its progression. The Glomerular Filtration Rate or GFR is the rate that the kidneys filter waste and is related to the function of the kidneys.
Stages 1 and 2
Stage 1. Mild signs of kidney disease but GFR is better or more normal. (more than 90% kidney function)
Stage 2. Mild signs of kidney disease with GFR reduced. (around 60% to 90% kidney function)
Typically there are few to no physical symptoms felt at this point. Blood work may show abnormalities, usually a slightly raised serum creatinine. There may be the presence of blood and/or protein in the urine. Treatment might include dietary changes and medication to lower blood pressure.
Stages 3 and 4
Stage 3. Moderate signs of chronic renal insufficiency. (GFR shows 40% to 59% kidney function)
Stage 4. Severe signs of chronic renal insufficiency. (GFR shows 15% to 29% kidney function)
A person can usually still feel quite normal at this stage or they might experience a few symptoms like fatigue, swelling in the hands or feet, back pain, appetite, changes in urine, high blood pressure, and poor digestion. The serum creatinine will be higher which indicates less than 30% kidney function.
Stage 5. End stage renal failure. (GFR shows less than 15% kidney function)
Symptoms of renal failure include (and may also have appeared before this stage): anemia, easy bruising and bleeding, Fatigue, headache, thirst, diarrhea, skin color changes, lower mental alertness or confusion, swelling, high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, itchy eyes or skin, numbness in the extremities, muscle twitching or cramping, nausea or vomiting, less urine output, less sexual desire and poor digestion.
The best thing to do before you reach these later stages is simply to get tested. There are several things you can do to prevent kidney disease like quit smoking, drink less alcohol, lose weight, eat a healthy diet, lower your intake of salt and exercise.
The National Kidney Foundation is the leader in kidney disease prevention, awareness and treatment. Donate your car for kidney disease prevention and help the NKF in this great cause.