According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 26 million Americans either have kidney disease or are at risk of developing one. Untreated kidney disease leads to chronic renal failure (CRF), also known as chronic kidney failure.
The underlying cause of kidney disease may vary. Hypertension and diabetes are common contributors, but genetics, chronic infection, lupus and kidney stones are other causes of kidney disease.
Kidneys are not a mere organ of excretion or selective filtration and should always be evaluated in relation to the individual as a whole. Kidneys have a generalised function–the fluids coming to it and going from it, influence every organ, tissue and cell of our body. Kidney function influences the complete vital economy of our body.
Kidney disease is a silent killer... Since early stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) often do not present themselves with any symptoms, so a patient is often shocked when they find out that he/she has CKD. Their blood test reveals a decline in their kidney function (low GFR) and higher level than normal of waster products (mainly creatinine, and urea nitrogen), which the kidneys are not able to remove from blood. So quite often, their doctor watches their GFR to decline with time, and their creatinine and BUN levels going up in each routinely performed blood tests. But, they don't have anything much to offer to those patients in the early stages of CKD, apart high blood pressure and anemia medications as these conditions are commonly experienced when the kidney failure progresses. Only when the kidneys function deteriorates to the level that indicates the end stage of the disease, the doctors can then offer the dialysis or kidney transplant procedures.
No wonder many CKD patients look for help outside of the mainstream medicine to support their kidneys and slow down the deterioration process. Often the patient needs to be educated on the proper nutrition, on how stress and emotional health affects the health, how to handle the stressors, and they need to commit to necessary lifestyle changes appropriate to their individual case. It is of course easier to help the body to heal at the early stage of the condition when the GFR is in a normal but low rage (70-60) than it is at its end stage (below 20).
It is good to know your blood test results.
Next time you visit a doctor please ask for a copy of your blood results and learn what those results mean. See how the results change with each visit. It is your life, your blood, so knowing what's going on in your body should be of interest to you, too, not only to the doctor. Here you find the basic explanation of some kidney blood test results that are important to your kidneys' health.
It is advisable to work with a holistic health practitioner, who can support you in your journey to better health, who spends time explaining and answering questions related to the lifestyle changes that he/she might recommend to you, additionally to the treatment and care you receive from your primary physician or nephrologist.
If you have questions regarding this subject, please schedule a free 15 min. phone call to have them answered.
If you have kidney disease your doctor will decide which tests you will have and how often they will be done. Speak to your doctor about your results. If your numbers are not in the normal range, ask what he can recommend to improve them. Additionally, you can also consider some natural supplements (like Wei Labs) and some lifestyle changes that would promote the health of your kidneys. Contact us to get more info on these options.
Here are some of the tests and measurements that people who develop chronic kidney disease may want to know about.
Serum Creatinine: Creatinine is a waste product in your blood that comes from muscle activity. It is normally removed from your blood by your kidneys, but when kidney function slows down, the creatinine level rises.
Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR): Your GFR tells how much kidney function you have. If your GFR falls below 30 you will need to see a kidney disease specialist (called a nephrologist), Your kidney doctor will speak to you about treatments for kidney failure like dialysis or kidney transplant. A GFR below 15 indicates that you need to start one of these treatments.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): Urea nitrogen is a normal waste product in your blood that comes from the breakdown of protein from the foods you eat and from your body metabolism. It is normally removed from your blood by your kidneys, but when kidney function slows down, the BUN level rises. BUN can also rise if you eat more protein, and it can fall if you eat less protein.
Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease
Different stage of CKD will reflect in different results of the above blood tests.
Stage 1-2 CKD have mild kidney damage with GFR above 60 and elevated creatinine and BUN levels. Patient may experience low energy, some swelling, bubbling of urine, low appetite and sleep issues.
Stage 3 CKD have moderate kidney damage with GFR between 30-60 and blood creatinine and BUN levels further elevated. Patients may also develop high blood pressure not responding well to medications, anemia, and/or early bone disease.
Stage 4-5 CKD have advanced kidney damage and severe decrease in GFR at 15-30 and severe increase of BUN and creatinine levels.
It is advisable to work with a holistic health practitioner who can support you in your journey to better health, who spends time explaining and answering questions related to the supplements and lifestyle changes that he/she might recommend to you, additionally to the treatment and care you receive from your primary physician or nephrologist.
If you have questions on this subject, please schedule a free 15 min. call to have them answered.