What are kidneys and what do they do?
Kidneys are essential organ situated at your loin, one on each side. They are connected by blood vessels to your main artery inside your abdomen.
They are acting as filtering machines to clean up your blood and get rid of toxins, wastes, and extra water in a form of urine. They are also acting as balancing machines in your body to adjust electrolytes, acid-base balance, and blood pressure.
They are also acting as hormone releasing organ forming vitamin D and erythropoietin important in your bone metabolism and promoting blood cells generation in bone marrow.
What is chronic kidney disease and what happens when kidneys are not functioning well?
Chronic kidney disease happens when there are damages to the kidneys caused by various insults, normally with repetitive and persistent injuries. This process can start early but normally progress slowly, and it can take up to 5-10 years to progress from mild to severe disease. There are 5 stages of chronic kidney disease depending on the severity and the ability of the kidneys filtering or cleaning your blood.
Depending on the causes, once the kidneys are damaged, unfortunately most of them will not recover back to their original state.
When the kidneys are not functioning well, obviously they will lose their jobs as a cleaner, balancer, and hormone producer. Symptoms will developed such as swelling, lethargy, reduced appetite, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, and in severe cases, coma or death. However, these symptoms normally do not appear until the kidneys have reached at least stage 3 or 4 disease. Therefore, CKD is considered to be a silent killer. CKD is associated with increased morbidity and mortality (mainly from cardiovascular disease) when compared to healthy individuals.