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Martha Jefferson HealthWise--March 5th

There is some good news regarding kidney disease and that is early detection can help prevent it's progression.

What is chronic kidney disease?

Dr. Kevin McConnell, MJH Nephrologist, explains that chronic kidney disease is when one suffers from gradual and usually permanent loss of kidney function over time. This happens gradually over time, usually months to years. Chronic kidney disease is divided into five stages of increasing severity. Stage 5 chronic kidney failure is also referred to as end–stage renal disease, wherein there is total or near–total loss of kidney function and patients need dialysis or transplantation to stay alive.

What are the signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease?
Symptoms vary greatly. Several different body systems may be affected. Notably, most patients have no decrease in urine output even with very advanced chronic kidney disease. Below are some of the signs or symptoms:

  • Fatigue and weakness (from anemia or accumulation of waste products in the body)
  • Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting
  • need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Swelling of the legs and puffiness around the eyes (fluid retention)
  • Itching, easy bruising, and pale skin (from anemia)
  • Headaches, numbness in the feet or hands (peripheral neuropathy), disturbed sleep, altered mental status (encephalopathy from the accumulation of waste products or uremic poisons), and restless legs syndrome
  • High blood pressure, chest pain due to pericarditis (inflammation around the heart)
  • Shortness of breath from fluid in lungs
  • Bleeding (poor blood clotting)
  • Bone pain and fractures
  • Decreased sexual interest and erectile dysfunction


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