Kidney disease essentially means damaged kidneys to which they cannot filter blood the way they should. This disease is otherwise known as Chronic Kidney Disease because the damage to the kidneys happen slowly over a long period. Kidney disease can cause many other health conditions.
The function of the kidneys are to filter extra water and waste from the blood to make urine. To ensure proper function of the body the kidneys balance salt and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium that circulate the body.
The kidneys also create hormones to control a healthy blood pressure, produce make red blood cells and keep the bones nice and strong.
Kidney disease can worse over time which can essentially lead to kidney failure, if this were too happen then the patient would need dialysis or to maintain health a kidney transplant.
When kidney disease is at an early stage, there does not tend to be any symptoms, this is because the body can actually cope with a significant reduction in kidney function. Kidney disease is often highlighted when a routine test has been conducted, and it would detect a possible problem. If it is picked up at an early stage, then it is easier to maintain the disease.
There are a number of symptoms one can develop when kidney disease isn’t picked up at an early stage or can worsen despite treatment provided;
- Weight loss or poor appetite
- Water retention, otherwise known as Oedema. (Swollen ankles, feet, or hands)
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in urine
- Regularly peeing
- Itchy skin
- Muscle cramp
- Feeling sick
- Erectile dysfunction (common in males)
Once kidney failure has reached the end stage, otherwise known as established renal failure or disease, the patient will eventually require treatment with dialysis or kidney transplant.
Those from South Asian communities are 5 more times likely to have kidney failure, however many are unaware that they suffer from the condition. This is because South Asians are more likely to have diabetes and high blood pressure than those who are from a white ethnicity.
"Many black and south Asian people know about the higher prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure in their communities, but they don’t realise the direct link between these conditions and kidney failure," says Kidney Research UK’s Neerja Jain. "Kidney disease is also more likely to be progressive (worsen to the point of kidney failure) in some black and Asian groups," she says.
"South Asian patients with diabetes are 10 times more likely to go on to have kidney failure than white Caucasians with diabetes," says Neerja. "So it’s vital that diabetes and blood pressure in this group is well-controlled to reduce the likelihood of complications such as kidney damage."