Chronic Kidney Disease  

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as chronic renal disease, refers to the progressive loss of function in one or both kidneys. According to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately 37 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some degree of CKD. 

Chronic Kidney Disease Causes 

Chronic kidney disease can be brought on by a number of different conditions. Although diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD, others include: 

  • Polycystic kidney disease, a condition in which cysts develop on the kidneys and interfere with proper filtration 
  • Glomerulonephritis, a group of conditions in which the kidney’s filtration units become severely and irreversibly inflamed 
  • Malformations that occur during fetal development, including an abnormality in which urine flow backs up into the kidney, causing recurrent infections 
  • Kidney obstructions, including tumors and frequently recurring kidney stones 
  • Immunosuppressive diseases, such as lupus  

These conditions don’t always lead to CKD, but they can gradually reduce the kidneys’ ability to adequately filter waste products from the blood.  

Additionally, clinical data shows that CKD is more likely to affect people who:  

  • Are diabetic  
  • Have high blood pressure  
  • Have a family history of kidney failure  
  • Are African-American or Hispanic  

Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms 

Symptoms of chronic kidney disease tend to develop over time and slowly worsen as kidney function declines. Some of the most common symptoms include:  

  • Swelling in the feet and ankles 
  • Nausea and vomiting   
  • Puffiness in the face (especially under the eyes) 
  • Muscle cramps and twitches 
  • Frequently needing to urinate  
  • Energy loss 
  • Appetite loss 
  • Difficulty sleeping and focusing 

Chronic Kidney Disease Diagnosis 

Diagnosing chronic kidney disease typically begins with a review of symptoms, personal medical history and family medical history. Next, one or more tests may be performed to assess kidney health, including:  

  • Blood and urine tests  
  • Kidney imaging  
  • A kidney biopsy  

Chronic Kidney Disease Treatments 

Patients with mild or moderate kidney disease may be able to manage their symptoms with medications and diet modifications. However, as kidney failure becomes more advanced, patients may require additional therapies, such as dialysis. If these treatments don’t do enough to manage the patient’s kidney failure, a transplant may become a consideration. At Tampa General Hospital, we perform kidney transplants for patients with several critical kidney conditions, including end-stage chronic kidney disease.