Associates In Kidney Disease & Hypertension

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

     More than 20 million Americans have kidney disease and another estimated 20 million are at risk and don't know it. Our kidneys function to remove extra water and wastes, help control blood pressure, keep body chemicals in balance, keep bones strong, and tell your body to make red blood cells.

     Chronic kidney disease occurs when kidneys are no longer able to clean toxins and waste product from the blood and perform their functions to full capacity. This can happen all of a sudden or over time. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means that the kidneys have been damaged by conditions or diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure and this usually occurs gradually, over months to years. As a result of this, the kidneys become less able to do the following jobs that keep us healthy:

 - Remove wastes and extra fluid from your body
, Release hormones that help to:
Control blood pressure
Promote strong bones
, Prevent anemia by increasing red blood cells
, Maintain the correct balance of important minerals and chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium, phosphorus and calcium
.

    There are many reasons why kidneys fail. The two major causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and hypertension. Some kidney diseases are inherited, while others are caused by pre-existing health conditions. Some additional causes of kidney disease may include glomerulonephritis, nephrotic syndrome, polycystic kidney disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, chronic kidney infections, and kidney stones. Our main goal at AKDH is to help improve or delay the progression of kidney disease over time all the while maintaining a quality of life. Treatment options in kidney disease including a combination of particular, select healthy diets, exercise, and medications. If kidney function is severely impaired, patients may require the assistance of dialysis or a kidney transplant to help maintain good health. 

Symptoms of CKD:



     Fatigue with decreased energy,
loss of appetite, muscle cramping at night, difficulty sleeping, mental changes such as inability to concentrate, headaches, swelling (edema, swelling of the face, feet, ankles, puffiness around eyes, especially in the mornings, dry, itchy skin, increased frequency in urination
.

Are You at Increased Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease?

    Your doctor or clinic should check to see if you have any risk factors for chronic kidney disease. These include: diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of chronic kidney disease, older age, certain ethnic groups (African Americans, Hispanics, Asians), autoimmune disease (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis), kidney stones, exposure to medications or environmental toxins, recurrent urinary tract infections.    

     Your doctor can determine the stage of kidney disease based on the presence of kidney damage and glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is the measurement of your level of kidney function. Early detection and treatment of CKD by standardized blood tests to estimate renal function and monitoring of urine protein excretion can stabilize and delay the progression of CKD.

 There are six stages of CKD, with Stage 6 being the most severe, requiring dialysis.

     The National Kidney Foundation estimates that about 20 million adults in the U.S. have some degree of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Of these, about 300,000 people have severe renal failure - Stage 5 CKD (near dialysis), or Stage 6 (on dialysis or have a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of less than 15 mL/min. Another 400,000 have Stage 4 CKD (severe), and about 7.5 million are at Stage 3 (moderate). The rest have some kidney damage, but have normal or only mildly reduced kidney function (CKD Stages 1 and 2). Many people with CKD do not know they have it. Symptoms are normally subtle until late in the course of the disease. With early detection, the course of CKD can usually be slowed.

How can I slow the progression of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?:

There are many ways to help delay or prevent kidney failure, especially when CKD is diagnosed in the mild to moderate stages. These include:

1) Blood pressure control

•Keep your blood pressure at 125/75 or lower if you have diabetes and/or protein in your urine. Keep your blood pressure at 130/85 or lower if you have kidney problems but not diabetes.

Studies have shown that certain types of blood pressure medications such as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) can help slow progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes, and even if they do not have high blood pressure. The generic names of some common ACE inhibitors are captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril. Some common ARBs are telmisartan, losartan, candesartan, and valsartan.

2) Diabetes control

If you have diabetes, strict controls of your blood glucose levels can help slow the progression of kidney disease.

3) Repairing the damage

In some cases, the kidney disease itself can be treated. If you have an obstruction that blocks your urine flow, surgery may help. If you have an infection, antibiotics may clear it up. If damage is due to the effects of prescription or non-prescription medications, your doctor may be able to suggest a different medication that is less harmful to your kidneys. If you have CKD and are prescribed antibiotics talk to your doctor about the effect it may have on your kidneys. Painkillers (even over-the-counter medicines) can cause damage your kidneys. Smoking is a risk factor for faster progression of kidney disease, so stopping smoking can also help slow progression. Avoiding too much protein and phosphorus in the diet may help, as well.

4) Diet and drugs

Ongoing research continues on dietary changes and drugs that may help to slow the progression of CKD. Examples include: Fish Oil, Low protein diet, Antioxidants.

When should a patient be referred to a nephrologist (Kidney Specialist)?

     If your Glomerular Filtration Rate GFR between 30-60 ml/min you should be under the care of a Nephrologist. Early referral to a nephrologist has been show to slow the decline of chronic kidney disease and to delay or even avoid the need for dialysis.

When should dialysis start?

     National Kidney Foundation guidelines recommend that you start dialysis when your kidney function drops to 15% or less-or if you have severe symptoms caused by your kidney disease, like shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle cramps, or nausea and vomiting. Private insurance generally covers treatment for kidney failure whenever your doctor says it is needed. If you don't have private insurance, you may be able to get coverage through federal or state funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid. If you are not having symptoms, you may be able to wait a bit longer.

     However, some doctors believe that starting dialysis as soon as Medicare or insurance covers it is wise, since it can take a long time to recover if you let yourself get very ill. Since chronic kidney disease often happens slowly, sometimes people do not even know how bad they feel-until they start dialysis and begin to feel much better.   It is important to start getting ready for dialysis or a transplant well in advance-when your kidney disease reaches Stage 4 (severe, with glomerular filtration rate, or GFR, less than 30 mL/min). Learning about the types of dialysis and transplant options will help you make a choice that is for you. 

                    For more information on chronic kidney disease click here! 

diagnosed and under treated. More than 20 million Americans have kidney disease and another estimated 20 million are at risk
and don't know it. By the year 2010, the number of people with End Stage Kidney Disease is expected to more than double to
650,000.

Are You at Increased Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease?
Your doctor or clinic should check to see if you have any risk factors for chronic kidney disease. These include:
diabetes
high blood pressure
family history of chronic kidney disease
older age
certain ethnic groups like: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians
Auto immune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid Arthritis
Kidney Stones
Exposure to certain medications and environmental toxins like lead and industrial toxins
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
If you answer yes to any of the above you should visit your doctor or clinic and get tested. Your checkup should include:
Checking your blood pressure
Having a simple test for protein in your urine. When your kidneys are damaged protein leaks into your urine.
Having a simple blood test for creatinine, a waste product that comes from muscle activity. Your kidneys normally
remove creatinine from your blood. When your kidneys are damaged, however, your blood creatinine may build to a 
high level.

What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Healthy kidneys function to remove extra water and wastes, help control blood pressure, keep body chemicals in balance, 
keep bones strong, tell your body to make red blood cells and help children grow normally. Chronic kidney disease occurs 
when kidneys are no longer able to clean toxins and waste product from the blood and perform their functions to full 
capacity. This can happen all of a sudden or over time.

What causes chronic kidney disease?
The cause of chronic kidney disease is not always known. However, many conditions and diseases can damage kidneys and 
lead to chronic kidney disease.
•  Diabetes causes about 35% of all chronic kidney disease.
•  High blood pressure causes another 30%.
•  Glomerulonephritis is the third most common cause of chronic kidney disease.
•  Other causes include:
o Medication use or overuse.
o Infection and obstruction of the kidneys.
o Inherited genetic diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of Chronic Kidney disease?
Because the kidneys perform so many functions for the body, the number of ways in which signs or symptoms of disease 
may show up is large. Several different body systems may be affected.
•  General - Fatigue, weakness
•  Cardiovascular - High blood pressure, fluid retention (edema), chest pain due to pericarditis (inflammation around the heart)
•  Pulmonary - Shortness of breath from fluid in lungs
•  Gastrointestinal - Nausea, decreased appetite
•  Hormonal - Calcium and vitamin D abnormalities, phosphorus abnormalities, testicular or ovarian dysfunction
•  Blood - Low red blood cell count (anemia), platelet dysfunction, and poor blood clotting
•  Nerve problems - Numbness in the feet or hands (peripheral neuropathy), altered mental status             (encephalopathy)
•  Electrolyte and acid-base levels - High potassium (hyperkalemia), acidosis
•  Orthopedic - Bone pain, easy fractures
•  Skin - Itching, easy bruising, pale skin

How many people in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease?

The National Kidney Foundation estimates that about 20 million adults in the U.S. have some degree of chronic kidney disease 
(CKD). Of these, about 300,000 have Stage 5 CKD, or kidney failure-they are on dialysis or have a glomerular filtration rate 
(GFR) of less than 15 mL/min. Another 400,000 have Stage 4 CKD (severe), and about 7.5 million are at Stage 3 (moderate).
The rest have some kidney damage, but have normal or only mildly reduced kidney function (CKD Stages 1 and 2). Trends in
the data show that the numbers of people with CKD are rising. Many people with CKD do not know they have it. Symptoms 
are normally subtle until late in the course of the disease. With early detection, the course of CKD can usually be slowed.

What are the stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
In chronic kidney disease, the kidneys don't usually fail all at once. Instead, kidney disease often progresses slowly, over a 
period of years. This is good news because, if CKD is caught early, medications and lifestyle changes may help slow its 
progress and keep you feeling your best for as long as possible. With early diagnosis, it may be possible to slow, stop, or 
even reverse CKD, depending on the cause. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recently published information on the 
stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). In the table below, the "GFR level," or glomerular filtration rate, is a measure of 
how well your kidneys are cleaning your blood. Your doctor can calculate your GFR, based on a formula.

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease












How can I slow the progression of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?:
There are many ways to help delay or prevent kidney failure, especially when CKD is diagnosed in the mild to moderate 
stages. These include:

1-Blood pressure control
•Keep your blood pressure at 125/75 or lower if you have diabetes and/or protein in your urine.
•Keep your blood pressure at 130/85 or lower if you have kidney problems but not diabetes.

Two types of blood pressure medication slow the action of angiotensin, a substance that may contribute to kidney disease 
progression. Studies have shown that angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers 
(ARBs) can help slow progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes, even if they do not have high blood pressure. 
The generic names of some common ACE inhibitors are captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril. Some common ARBs are 
telmisartan, losartan, candesartan, and valsartan.

2-Blood glucose control
If you have diabetes, strict controls of your blood glucose levels can help slow the progression of kidney disease.
Keep your hemoglobin A1c, which measures blood glucose control over the last two to three months, to less than
6.5%.
To reach this level of strict glycemic control, you will need to monitor your blood glucose closely to avoid
hypoglycemia. You may need to use frequent insulin injections or an insulin pump.

3-Repairing the damage
In some cases, the kidney disease itself can be treated. If you have an obstruction that blocks your urine flow, surgery may 
help. If you have an infection, antibiotics may clear it up.
If damage is due to the effects of prescription or non-prescription medications, your doctor may be able to suggest a 
different medication that is less harmful to your kidneys. If you have CKD and are prescribed antibiotics talk to your doctor 
about the effect it may have on your kidneys. Painkillers (even over-the-counter medicines) can cause damage your kidneys. 
Sometimes diagnostic studies are ordered with contrast dye. It may be necessary for you to have the study, but first find out 
if there are alternative methods.  Some diseases, such as IgA nephropathy, glomerulonephritis, and lupus can cause kidney 
damage when your immune system overreacts and inflammation occurs. It is sometimes possible to slow the disease process 
by controlling the immune system with steroids and/or other medications.

Smoking is a risk factor for faster progression of kidney disease, so stopping smoking can also help slow progression. 
Avoiding too much protein and phosphorus in the diet may help, as well.

4-Diet and drugs
Ongoing research continues on dietary changes and drugs that may help to slow the progression of CKD. Examples include:

Fish oil for IgA nephropathy
Low protien restriction diet 0.8 gm/kg may slow the progression of the chronic kidney disease espicially in patients
nearing end stage renal disease
Pirfenidone (an anti-fibrotic drug) in the treatment of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)
Dietary intake of antioxidant or anti-inflammatory vitamins and foods

When one should be referred to a nephrologist (Kidney Specialist)?
If your Glomerular Filtration Rate GFR between 30-60 ml/min you should be under the care of a Nephrologist. The Nephrologist can help you and your Primary Care Physician to:

Slow the rate of decline of your kidney function
Decide if a kidney biopsy might be useful
Diagnose the type of kidney disease and whether it might be reversible with treatment
Manage complications of kidney disease, such as anemia, high blood pressure, metabolic acidosis, and changes in
mineral balance


When  dialysis should start?
National Kidney Foundation guidelines recommend that you start dialysis when your kidney function drops to 15% or less-or 
if you have severe symptoms caused by your kidney disease, like shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle cramps, or nausea and 
vomiting. Your doctor will help you decide, based on lab tests that measure how much kidney function you have left and on 
your symptoms. Private insurance generally covers treatment for kidney failure whenever your doctor says it is needed. If 
you don't have private insurance, you may be able to get coverage through federal or state funded healthcare programs, such 
as Medicare or Medicaid. Most people (about 93% of those who apply) qualify for Medicare when they need dialysis or a 
transplant, even if they are under age 65. Medicare pays for 80% of treatment for kidney disease when kidney function has 
dropped to 10-15%, or when your doctor justifies it.  If you are not having symptoms, you may be able to wait a bit longer. 
However, some doctors believe that starting dialysis as soon as Medicare or insurance covers it is wise, since it can take a 
long time to recover if you let yourself get very ill. Since chronic kidney disease often happens slowly, sometimes people do 
not even know how bad they feel-until they start dialysis and begin to feel much better.   It is important to start getting ready 
for dialysis or a transplant well in advance-when your kidney disease reaches Stage 4 (severe, with glomerular filtration rate, 
or GFR, less than 30 mL/min). Learning about the types of dialysis and transplant options will help you make a choice that is 
best for you.
Chronic kidney disease is not widely understood by primary care physicians or the American public. As a result, it is under 
diagnosed and under treated. More than 20 million Americans have kidney disease and another estimated 20 million are at risk
and don't know it. By the year 2010, the number of people with End Stage Kidney Disease is expected to more than double to
650,000.

Are You at Increased Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease?
Your doctor or clinic should check to see if you have any risk factors for chronic kidney disease. These include:
diabetes
high blood pressure
family history of chronic kidney disease
older age
certain ethnic groups like: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians
Auto immune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid Arthritis
Kidney Stones
Exposure to certain medications and environmental toxins like lead and industrial toxins
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
If you answer yes to any of the above you should visit your doctor or clinic and get tested. Your checkup should include:
Checking your blood pressure
Having a simple test for protein in your urine. When your kidneys are damaged protein leaks into your urine.
Having a simple blood test for creatinine, a waste product that comes from muscle activity. Your kidneys normally
remove creatinine from your blood. When your kidneys are damaged, however, your blood creatinine may build to a 
high level.

What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Healthy kidneys function to remove extra water and wastes, help control blood pressure, keep body chemicals in balance, 
keep bones strong, tell your body to make red blood cells and help children grow normally. Chronic kidney disease occurs 
when kidneys are no longer able to clean toxins and waste product from the blood and perform their functions to full 
capacity. This can happen all of a sudden or over time.

What causes chronic kidney disease?
The cause of chronic kidney disease is not always known. However, many conditions and diseases can damage kidneys and 
lead to chronic kidney disease.
•  Diabetes causes about 35% of all chronic kidney disease.
•  High blood pressure causes another 30%.
•  Glomerulonephritis is the third most common cause of chronic kidney disease.
•  Other causes include:
o Medication use or overuse.
o Infection and obstruction of the kidneys.
o Inherited genetic diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of Chronic Kidney disease?
Because the kidneys perform so many functions for the body, the number of ways in which signs or symptoms of disease 
may show up is large. Several different body systems may be affected.
•  General - Fatigue, weakness
•  Cardiovascular - High blood pressure, fluid retention (edema), chest pain due to pericarditis (inflammation around the heart)
•  Pulmonary - Shortness of breath from fluid in lungs
•  Gastrointestinal - Nausea, decreased appetite
•  Hormonal - Calcium and vitamin D abnormalities, phosphorus abnormalities, testicular or ovarian dysfunction
•  Blood - Low red blood cell count (anemia), platelet dysfunction, and poor blood clotting
•  Nerve problems - Numbness in the feet or hands (peripheral neuropathy), altered mental status             (encephalopathy)
•  Electrolyte and acid-base levels - High potassium (hyperkalemia), acidosis
•  Orthopedic - Bone pain, easy fractures
•  Skin - Itching, easy bruising, pale skin

How many people in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease?

The National Kidney Foundation estimates that about 20 million adults in the U.S. have some degree of chronic kidney disease 
(CKD). Of these, about 300,000 have Stage 5 CKD, or kidney failure-they are on dialysis or have a glomerular filtration rate 
(GFR) of less than 15 mL/min. Another 400,000 have Stage 4 CKD (severe), and about 7.5 million are at Stage 3 (moderate).
The rest have some kidney damage, but have normal or only mildly reduced kidney function (CKD Stages 1 and 2). Trends in
the data show that the numbers of people with CKD are rising. Many people with CKD do not know they have it. Symptoms 
are normally subtle until late in the course of the disease. With early detection, the course of CKD can usually be slowed.

What are the stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
In chronic kidney disease, the kidneys don't usually fail all at once. Instead, kidney disease often progresses slowly, over a 
period of years. This is good news because, if CKD is caught early, medications and lifestyle changes may help slow its 
progress and keep you feeling your best for as long as possible. With early diagnosis, it may be possible to slow, stop, or 
even reverse CKD, depending on the cause. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recently published information on the 
stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). In the table below, the "GFR level," or glomerular filtration rate, is a measure of 
how well your kidneys are cleaning your blood. Your doctor can calculate your GFR, based on a formula.

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease












How can I slow the progression of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?:
There are many ways to help delay or prevent kidney failure, especially when CKD is diagnosed in the mild to moderate 
stages. These include:

1-Blood pressure control
•Keep your blood pressure at 125/75 or lower if you have diabetes and/or protein in your urine.
•Keep your blood pressure at 130/85 or lower if you have kidney problems but not diabetes.

Two types of blood pressure medication slow the action of angiotensin, a substance that may contribute to kidney disease 
progression. Studies have shown that angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers 
(ARBs) can help slow progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes, even if they do not have high blood pressure. 
The generic names of some common ACE inhibitors are captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril. Some common ARBs are 
telmisartan, losartan, candesartan, and valsartan.

2-Blood glucose control
If you have diabetes, strict controls of your blood glucose levels can help slow the progression of kidney disease.
Keep your hemoglobin A1c, which measures blood glucose control over the last two to three months, to less than
6.5%.
To reach this level of strict glycemic control, you will need to monitor your blood glucose closely to avoid
hypoglycemia. You may need to use frequent insulin injections or an insulin pump.

3-Repairing the damage
In some cases, the kidney disease itself can be treated. If you have an obstruction that blocks your urine flow, surgery may 
help. If you have an infection, antibiotics may clear it up.
If damage is due to the effects of prescription or non-prescription medications, your doctor may be able to suggest a 
different medication that is less harmful to your kidneys. If you have CKD and are prescribed antibiotics talk to your doctor 
about the effect it may have on your kidneys. Painkillers (even over-the-counter medicines) can cause damage your kidneys. 
Sometimes diagnostic studies are ordered with contrast dye. It may be necessary for you to have the study, but first find out 
if there are alternative methods.  Some diseases, such as IgA nephropathy, glomerulonephritis, and lupus can cause kidney 
damage when your immune system overreacts and inflammation occurs. It is sometimes possible to slow the disease process 
by controlling the immune system with steroids and/or other medications.

Smoking is a risk factor for faster progression of kidney disease, so stopping smoking can also help slow progression. 
Avoiding too much protein and phosphorus in the diet may help, as well.

4-Diet and drugs
Ongoing research continues on dietary changes and drugs that may help to slow the progression of CKD. Examples include:

Fish oil for IgA nephropathy
Low protien restriction diet 0.8 gm/kg may slow the progression of the chronic kidney disease espicially in patients
nearing end stage renal disease
Pirfenidone (an anti-fibrotic drug) in the treatment of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)
Dietary intake of antioxidant or anti-inflammatory vitamins and foods

When one should be referred to a nephrologist (Kidney Specialist)?
If your Glomerular Filtration Rate GFR between 30-60 ml/min you should be under the care of a Nephrologist. The Nephrologist can help you and your Primary Care Physician to:

Slow the rate of decline of your kidney function
Decide if a kidney biopsy might be useful
Diagnose the type of kidney disease and whether it might be reversible with treatment
Manage complications of kidney disease, such as anemia, high blood pressure, metabolic acidosis, and changes in
mineral balance


When  dialysis should start?
National Kidney Foundation guidelines recommend that you start dialysis when your kidney function drops to 15% or less-or 
if you have severe symptoms caused by your kidney disease, like shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle cramps, or nausea and 
vomiting. Your doctor will help you decide, based on lab tests that measure how much kidney function you have left and on 
your symptoms. Private insurance generally covers treatment for kidney failure whenever your doctor says it is needed. If 
you don't have private insurance, you may be able to get coverage through federal or state funded healthcare programs, such 
as Medicare or Medicaid. Most people (about 93% of those who apply) qualify for Medicare when they need dialysis or a 
transplant, even if they are under age 65. Medicare pays for 80% of treatment for kidney disease when kidney function has 
dropped to 10-15%, or when your doctor justifies it.  If you are not having symptoms, you may be able to wait a bit longer. 
However, some doctors believe that starting dialysis as soon as Medicare or insurance covers it is wise, since it can take a 
long time to recover if you let yourself get very ill. Since chronic kidney disease often happens slowly, sometimes people do 
not even know how bad they feel-until they start dialysis and begin to feel much better.   It is important to start getting ready 
for dialysis or a transplant well in advance-when your kidney disease reaches Stage 4 (severe, with glomerular filtration rate, 
or GFR, less than 30 mL/min). Learning about the types of dialysis and transplant options will help you make a choice that is 
best for you.
Chronic kidney disease is not widely understood by primary care physicians or the American public. As a result, it is under 
diagnosed and under treated. More than 20 million Americans have kidney disease and another estimated 20 million are at risk
and don't know it. By the year 2010, the number of people with End Stage Kidney Disease is expected to more than double to
650,000.

Are You at Increased Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease?
Your doctor or clinic should check to see if you have any risk factors for chronic kidney disease. These include:
diabetes
high blood pressure
family history of chronic kidney disease
older age
certain ethnic groups like: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians
Auto immune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid Arthritis
Kidney Stones
Exposure to certain medications and environmental toxins like lead and industrial toxins
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
If you answer yes to any of the above you should visit your doctor or clinic and get tested. Your checkup should include:
Checking your blood pressure
Having a simple test for protein in your urine. When your kidneys are damaged protein leaks into your urine.
Having a simple blood test for creatinine, a waste product that comes from muscle activity. Your kidneys normally
remove creatinine from your blood. When your kidneys are damaged, however, your blood creatinine may build to a 
high level.

What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Healthy kidneys function to remove extra water and wastes, help control blood pressure, keep body chemicals in balance, 
keep bones strong, tell your body to make red blood cells and help children grow normally. Chronic kidney disease occurs 
when kidneys are no longer able to clean toxins and waste product from the blood and perform their functions to full 
capacity. This can happen all of a sudden or over time.

What causes chronic kidney disease?
The cause of chronic kidney disease is not always known. However, many conditions and diseases can damage kidneys and 
lead to chronic kidney disease.
•  Diabetes causes about 35% of all chronic kidney disease.
•  High blood pressure causes another 30%.
•  Glomerulonephritis is the third most common cause of chronic kidney disease.
•  Other causes include:
o Medication use or overuse.
o Infection and obstruction of the kidneys.
o Inherited genetic diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of Chronic Kidney disease?
Because the kidneys perform so many functions for the body, the number of ways in which signs or symptoms of disease 
may show up is large. Several different body systems may be affected.
•  General - Fatigue, weakness
•  Cardiovascular - High blood pressure, fluid retention (edema), chest pain due to pericarditis (inflammation around the heart)
•  Pulmonary - Shortness of breath from fluid in lungs
•  Gastrointestinal - Nausea, decreased appetite
•  Hormonal - Calcium and vitamin D abnormalities, phosphorus abnormalities, testicular or ovarian dysfunction
•  Blood - Low red blood cell count (anemia), platelet dysfunction, and poor blood clotting
•  Nerve problems - Numbness in the feet or hands (peripheral neuropathy), altered mental status             (encephalopathy)
•  Electrolyte and acid-base levels - High potassium (hyperkalemia), acidosis
•  Orthopedic - Bone pain, easy fractures
•  Skin - Itching, easy bruising, pale skin

How many people in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease?

The National Kidney Foundation estimates that about 20 million adults in the U.S. have some degree of chronic kidney disease 
(CKD). Of these, about 300,000 have Stage 5 CKD, or kidney failure-they are on dialysis or have a glomerular filtration rate 
(GFR) of less than 15 mL/min. Another 400,000 have Stage 4 CKD (severe), and about 7.5 million are at Stage 3 (moderate).
The rest have some kidney damage, but have normal or only mildly reduced kidney function (CKD Stages 1 and 2). Trends in
the data show that the numbers of people with CKD are rising. Many people with CKD do not know they have it. Symptoms 
are normally subtle until late in the course of the disease. With early detection, the course of CKD can usually be slowed.

What are the stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
In chronic kidney disease, the kidneys don't usually fail all at once. Instead, kidney disease often progresses slowly, over a 
period of years. This is good news because, if CKD is caught early, medications and lifestyle changes may help slow its 
progress and keep you feeling your best for as long as possible. With early diagnosis, it may be possible to slow, stop, or 
even reverse CKD, depending on the cause. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recently published information on the 
stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). In the table below, the "GFR level," or glomerular filtration rate, is a measure of 
how well your kidneys are cleaning your blood. Your doctor can calculate your GFR, based on a formula.

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease












How can I slow the progression of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?:
There are many ways to help delay or prevent kidney failure, especially when CKD is diagnosed in the mild to moderate 
stages. These include:

1-Blood pressure control
•Keep your blood pressure at 125/75 or lower if you have diabetes and/or protein in your urine.
•Keep your blood pressure at 130/85 or lower if you have kidney problems but not diabetes.

Two types of blood pressure medication slow the action of angiotensin, a substance that may contribute to kidney disease 
progression. Studies have shown that angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers 
(ARBs) can help slow progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes, even if they do not have high blood pressure. 
The generic names of some common ACE inhibitors are captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril. Some common ARBs are 
telmisartan, losartan, candesartan, and valsartan.

2-Blood glucose control
If you have diabetes, strict controls of your blood glucose levels can help slow the progression of kidney disease.
Keep your hemoglobin A1c, which measures blood glucose control over the last two to three months, to less than
6.5%.
To reach this level of strict glycemic control, you will need to monitor your blood glucose closely to avoid
hypoglycemia. You may need to use frequent insulin injections or an insulin pump.

3-Repairing the damage
In some cases, the kidney disease itself can be treated. If you have an obstruction that blocks your urine flow, surgery may 
help. If you have an infection, antibiotics may clear it up.
If damage is due to the effects of prescription or non-prescription medications, your doctor may be able to suggest a 
different medication that is less harmful to your kidneys. If you have CKD and are prescribed antibiotics talk to your doctor 
about the effect it may have on your kidneys. Painkillers (even over-the-counter medicines) can cause damage your kidneys. 
Sometimes diagnostic studies are ordered with contrast dye. It may be necessary for you to have the study, but first find out 
if there are alternative methods.  Some diseases, such as IgA nephropathy, glomerulonephritis, and lupus can cause kidney 
damage when your immune system overreacts and inflammation occurs. It is sometimes possible to slow the disease process 
by controlling the immune system with steroids and/or other medications.

Smoking is a risk factor for faster progression of kidney disease, so stopping smoking can also help slow progression. 
Avoiding too much protein and phosphorus in the diet may help, as well.

4-Diet and drugs
Ongoing research continues on dietary changes and drugs that may help to slow the progression of CKD. Examples include:

Fish oil for IgA nephropathy
Low protien restriction diet 0.8 gm/kg may slow the progression of the chronic kidney disease espicially in patients
nearing end stage renal disease
Pirfenidone (an anti-fibrotic drug) in the treatment of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)
Dietary intake of antioxidant or anti-inflammatory vitamins and foods

When one should be referred to a nephrologist (Kidney Specialist)?
If your Glomerular Filtration Rate GFR between 30-60 ml/min you should be under the care of a Nephrologist. The Nephrologist can help you and your Primary Care Physician to:

Slow the rate of decline of your kidney function
Decide if a kidney biopsy might be useful
Diagnose the type of kidney disease and whether it might be reversible with treatment
Manage complications of kidney disease, such as anemia, high blood pressure, metabolic acidosis, and changes in
mineral balance


When  dialysis should start?
National Kidney Foundation guidelines recommend that you start dialysis when your kidney function drops to 15% or less-or 
if you have severe symptoms caused by your kidney disease, like shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle cramps, or nausea and 
vomiting. Your doctor will help you decide, based on lab tests that measure how much kidney function you have left and on 
your symptoms. Private insurance generally covers treatment for kidney failure whenever your doctor says it is needed. If 
you don't have private insurance, you may be able to get coverage through federal or state funded healthcare programs, such 
as Medicare or Medicaid. Most people (about 93% of those who apply) qualify for Medicare when they need dialysis or a 
transplant, even if they are under age 65. Medicare pays for 80% of treatment for kidney disease when kidney function has 
dropped to 10-15%, or when your doctor justifies it.  If you are not having symptoms, you may be able to wait a bit longer. 
However, some doctors believe that starting dialysis as soon as Medicare or insurance covers it is wise, since it can take a 
long time to recover if you let yourself get very ill. Since chronic kidney disease often happens slowly, sometimes people do 
not even know how bad they feel-until they start dialysis and begin to feel much better.   It is important to start getting ready 
for dialysis or a transplant well in advance-when your kidney disease reaches Stage 4 (severe, with glomerular filtration rate, 
or GFR, less than 30 mL/min). Learning about the types of dialysis and transplant options will help you make a choice that is 
best for you.

           

             Samir Sutaria, MD

2177 Oaktree Road
Suite 204
Edison, NJ 08820

Phone: (908) 769-4735
Fax: (908) 769-4736
Email: njkidney@gmail.com

                         

Listed As One Of The "Top Doctors" In New Jersey - NJ Monthly Magazine