Kidney disease often has no symptoms and can go undetected in early stages. Don’t wait until it’s too late to learn the risk factors. Dr. Rahul Mediwala, MD, with Renown Medical Group – Kidney Care explains what to be on the lookout for and when you should see a doctor.
Are you at risk for kidney disease? The answer may surprise you. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease. Even more shocking is that kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.
“The number of people affected by kidney disease has increased significantly over the last decade,” explains Dr. Rahul Mediwala, MD of Renown Medical Group – Kidney Care. “In fact, it’s one of the major causes of shortened life spans and suffering in the general population.”
According to Dr. Mediwala, early detection and management of kidney disease is key to reducing the long-term consequences of the disease.
“With better drugs and greater understanding of chronic kidney disease, it is more important than ever to diagnose and follow patients with chronic kidney disease closely,” Dr. Mediwala says.
To help you better understand the disease, Dr. Mediwala outlines what you need to know about kidney disease.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease is often divided into mild, moderate and advanced, as well as end-stage renal disease. Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage kidneys and decrease their ability to perform critical functions such as removing waste and harmful substances from the body, releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure and controlling the production of red blood cells.
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Disease
In early stages, chronic kidney disease may not have any noticeable symptoms. This is why getting an annual checkup with your primary care provider is so important to check for early signs of kidney disease using blood work.
In later stages, chronic kidney disease can cause fatigue, lethargy, weakness and nausea. Other more specific signs and symptoms are usually related to the type of kidney disease. For example, symptoms could include regular urinary tract infections, a change in the frequency of urination or the detection of blood in the urine.
Risk Factors for Kidney Disease
People that are at greatest risk for kidney problems include:
• Patients with long-standing or poorly controlled diabetes
• Patients with high blood pressure (especially poorly controlled high blood pressure)
• People with significant family history of chronic kidney disease or dialysis
When to See a Doctor
If you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, or if you believe that you may be at risk, see a doctor immediately. It’s important that you and your doctor develop an action plan surrounding the treatment and management of the condition.
“Often, small changes in lifestyle can have a great effect in the health of your kidneys,” shares Dr. Mediwala.
“However, if you wait until your kidney function is significantly affected, even major lifestyle changes and aggressive management may have only a minimal effect.”
To learn more about kidney disease, visit kidney.org.
Dr. Mediwala is one of three experienced Nephrologists practicing at Renown Medical Group – Kidney Care. To schedule an appointment with a kidney care specialist, call 775-982-5000.