Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) - What You Need Know

Posted on1 Year ago by

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined as an irreversible, ongoing deterioration of kidney function which has lasted for longer than at least 3 months. CKD is on the rise and some of the factors responsible for this ranges from high blood pressure, diabetes and poor lifestyle choices, to increasing awareness resulting in early detection and intervention.


1) The functions of the kidneys include: 

a) Maintaining water and electrolytes balance in the body

b) Maintaining normal blood pressure through hormone production

c) Removing waste products and toxic substances in the blood, which are then passed out in urine

d) Secreting a hormone known as erythropoietin, which the bone marrow requires to make red blood cells

e) Regulating acid-base balance in conjunction with the lungs

f) Acting as a site of action for other hormones fabricated elsewhere in the body


2) Alteration of these physiological processes will manifest in one or a combination of the following ways:

a) No symptoms

b) Changes to normal urine production: reduction or increase in urine volume and frequency to no urine production

c) Ankle and facial swelling, when severe, can involve most of the body

d) Foamy urine

e) High blood pressure characterized by headaches, unusual bleeding and rarely, low blood pressure

f) Generalised body weakness

g) In very severe cases, shortness of breath requiring urgent intervention

h) As waste products in the blood increases, the individual can begin to have abdominal pain and discomfort, nausea, loss of appetite, metallic taste, vomiting, generalised body itching, chest pain, drowsiness e.t.c

i) Other symptoms will depend on what may have caused the kidney disease


3) Habits predisposing an individual to kidney disease include:

a) Failure to seek medical help with chronic conditions known to affect the kidneys, including high blood pressure and high blood sugar

b) Unhealthy diet, such as high salt consumption, highly processed foods and snacks, high fructose consumption commonly found in soft drinks, saturated fat

c) Sedentary lifestyle

d) Obesity

e) Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption


4) A number of everyday lifestyle habits promote healthy kidneys, such as:

a) Staying hydrated. Maintenance of adequate fluid balance guided by urine concentration. The clearer the urine, the better the hydration status

b) Low salt diet

c) Low to no consumption of processed food, saturated fat, fructose drinks

d) Active lifestyle and maintenance of a normal weight

e) Moderation in consumption of alcohol

f) Smoking cessation

g) Judicious use of NSAID

h) Avoidance of use of herbal medications and supplements

i) Annual health checks to include measuring blood pressure, blood and urine tests

j) Presenting to health care facilities for follow up of chronic medical conditions and adherence to medical advice


5) Things to remember:

a) Adherence to healthy lifestyle and seeking medical intervention early



Dr Ifeoma Agburum MBBS FWACP

Renal Transplant Senior Clinical Fellow

University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire


Professor Nithya S Krishnan MBBS, FRCP, MD

Consultant Transplant Nephrologist, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust

Visiting Professor, Centre for Intelligent Healthcare, Coventry University

Associate Professor, University of Warwick

Education Committee Co-chair, The Transplantation Society

Executive Board Member of Commonwealth ‘Tribute to Life’

Member of Scientific Advisory Board, Mohan Foundation, India

Associate Editor, BMC Nephrology


Dr Oluwafemi Efuntoye MBBS  FWACP

Renal Transplant Senior Clinical Fellow

University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire



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