Chronic Kidney Disease: What is it?

Chronic Kidney Disease: What is it?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) unfortunately affects a large amount of the Australian population. In a survey run in 2012, it was revealed that up to 10% of Australians were suffering or had suffered from the disease. CKD is when your kidneys can’t filter blood the way they should due to being damaged. Many different conditions can result in developing chronic kidney disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Due to the severity of CKD, it’s important to know the symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Before learning what symptoms to look for, knowing how your kidneys function is fundamental. Your kidneys job is to keep you healthy by filtering wastes from your blood and excess fluid from your body. These processes are necessary to ensure your bodies chemicals are maintained at a stable balance.

Salt, potassium, and acid regulation are all performed by your kidneys. On top of this, hormone production that affects other organs functions also starts in your kidneys. These hormones can regulate blood pressure, stimulate red blood cell production, and control calcium metabolism.


Due to the significance of our kidneys function, it’s vital to understand the symptoms to look for that could signal developing chronic kidney disease. Some of the most common symptoms are:

·      Swollen feet and ankles

·      Dry, itchy skin

·      Puffiness around the eyes

·      Trouble sleeping

·      Muscle cramping at night

·      Poor appetite

·      Trouble concentrating

·      Fatigue

·      Excess need to urinate

While these symptoms don’t always mean you could be suffering from chronic kidney disease, it’s important to go and get a check-up if any of these arise. Make sure to always visit a trusted GP and get proper testing done before coming to any conclusions.


While anybody at any age can develop chronic kidney disease, there are certain groups that are more susceptible. You may be more likely to develop CKD if you:

·      Have high blood pressure

·      Have diabetes

·      Have a family history of kidney issues or failure

·      Are older (over 65)

·      Have a history of kidney related issues such as kidney stones


If your doctor thinks you may be suffering from chronic kidney disease, there are several tests they may perform to determine the severity and what treatments to move forward with. The most common test is a simple blood test. This blood test will measure the level of waste in your blood. This will be used to determine how well your kidneys are doing their job at filtering your blood. One of the most commonly found products in your blood is creatine, which your kidneys will have a hard time cleaning out if they are damaged.

Your doctor may also wish to perform more thorough tests such as a CT scan or a biopsy. From here, they will determine the condition of your kidneys, and what a suitable treatment would be. This will vary from case to case and depend on your own personal health and situation.

When you are experiencing any symptoms that could be a sign of chronic kidney disease or any other illnesses, it’s important to go and see a doctor as early as possible. Being properly diagnosed by a GP is the first step to receiving treatment and preventing any further damage to your kidneys or other parts of your body from occurring. For more information about chronic kidney disease and kidney health, please visit Kidney Health Australia or your GP.


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