Kidney Disease

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

CKD means that your kidneys are not working properly. Chronic means that the condition is likely to last for the rest of  your life. Your kidneys are unlikely to start working again. There is no cure for CKD but dialysis and transplantation are very effective treatments that take over the work that your kidneys normally do. Some people choose not to have dialysis or a transplant. This is called conservative management.

How did you find out that I have CKD?

The problem with your kidneys may have been discovered through one of the following ways:

  • a routine urine test
  • a very high blood pressure reading
  • a routine blood test

If your doctor finds something is wrong with your kidneys, they may do more tests. This may include more blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound scans and possibly a kidney biopsy (where a tiny piece of tissue is removed from your kidney and examined under a microscope).

These tests are needed to see the exact damage to your kidneys and to determine if any specific treatment is necessary.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

In the early stages of CKD you often have no symptoms. Later on you may have some or all of these symptoms at different times:

  • tiredness
  • lack of appetite
  • sickness
  • cramp in your legs
  • itching
  • swollen ankles
  • shortness of breath 
  • changes to sleep patterns
  • less interest in sex
  • feeling cold.

Many of these symptoms will improve when you start treatment.