Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
The kidneys function to clear the blood of metabolic toxins, maintain salt and water balance; they regulate blood pressure and red blood cell production. When the kidneys fail, these intricate mechanisms deteriorate causing illness. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) commonly occurs in the geriatric years or as a consequence of an acute episode of kidney failure. Early signs of kidney failure do not begin until there has been at least 2/3 loss of the kidney function. The earliest outward signs of chronic kidney failure include an increase in thirst and increase in urine volume. Early CKD may be detected incidentally on screening blood work as part of wellness testing. Symptoms of progressive CKD develop gradually over time: declining appetite, weight loss, poor hair coat, anemia, and intermittent vomiting to name a few. While CKD is irreversible, many treatments are available to slow down the progression of the disease and improve quality of life. Treatments focus on maintenance of: appetite, water and salt balance, red blood cell counts, nutrition (replace losses of essential vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes), and normalizing elevated blood pressures.