By Manju Alex, M.D.

Chronic kidney disease is a significant health concern for millions of people worldwide, affecting people of all ages and races. According to the National Kidney Foundation®, CKD affects 10% of the global population. While there is no cure for CKD, it can be managed through treatment that can slow or halt the progression of the disease. Early detection is key in preventing kidney disease from advancing to kidney failure.

Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of kidney disease including fatigue and weakness; sleep problems; urinating more or less; decreased mental sharpness; muscle cramps; swelling of feet and ankles; dry, itchy skin, difficulty in controlling blood pressure; shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Additional indicators of kidney disease include foamy urine, persistent puffiness around the eyes, and muscle cramps.

Factors that can increase the risk of developing kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, glomerulonephritis, cardiovascular disease, smoking, family history, age over 60, race or ethnicity, and other medical conditions such as polycystic kidney disease, kidney cancer, and autoimmune diseases like lupus and IgA nephropathy. If you have any of the above medical conditions that increase your risk of kidney disease, your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and kidney function with urine and blood tests during office visits.

It’s important to note that individuals can lose up to 90 percent of their kidney function before they experience any symptoms, and most people with CKD experience no symptoms until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Therefore, recognizing potential indicators of kidney disease and reporting them to a healthcare professional can lead to early detection and potentially slow the progression of the disease.

Manju Alex, M.D. provides care to Buffalo Medical Group patients in Williamsville and Orchard Park. She is board certified in Nephrology, Hypertension, and Internal Medicine, a Clinical Assistant Professor at UB, Medical Director for the Home Dialysis Program, a Kidney Foundation of WNY Board Member, and speaker for National Kidney Foundation educational meetings. To make an appointment with Dr. Alex, call 716-630-1138. Learn more about Dr. Alex at