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Kidney Health and the Elderly: Seniors at Higher Risk for Kidney Disease

The elderly have been susceptible to chronic kidney disease due to cardiovascular risk factors as well as aging. As one ages, kidney function also tends to decline. Although this is normal, it is important to learn the symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD) to be able to detect it earlier on and prevent complications.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease is the loss of kidney function brought by disease or injury which damages the kidney. This is most commonly caused by high blood pressure and diabetes. There are also incidents of CKD due to medications (particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen or ibuprofen), urine flow obstruction, inflammation of the kidneys’ filtering units or repeated infections.

What’s the fuss with CKD?

Kidneys serve a great purpose in the human body since they are the ones filtering and removing wastes, regulating fluid and chemical balance, as well as producing hormones for bone metabolism and red blood cell production. When the kidneys are damaged, resulting to CKD, there can be premature death. Patients may also undergo kidney transplant or dialysis if they already have kidney failure.

CKD’s Complications

Chronic Kidney Disease is systemic. If it is already advanced, there can be serious complications such as loss of bone density, anemia, and even an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. One may also experience mental confusion, marked fatigue, and loss of appetite.

Who Develops CKD?

The National Kidney Foundation states that 30 million Americans currently have chronic kidney disease while millions more are at risk. The elderly, in particular, are also at risk compared with other age groups. Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD. Likewise, other factors that lead to it include a family history of kidney disease and hypertension. Some racial groups are also more susceptible to CKD, that to include Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Symptoms of CKD

Knowing the symptoms of CKD would really be helpful, although it’s also best to consult a physician. These symptoms include the following: poor appetite, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, concentration problems, swollen extremities, muscle cramping at night, frequent urination, and dry itchy skin, specifically during nighttime. To diagnose further, health specialists perform several tests: blood tests, blood pressure, and urinalysis.

How to Avoid CKD If You are at High Risk

If you have diabetes, it would be best to control your glucose level. The same goes with those who have hypertension (to control their blood pressure level). Those with an early diagnosis of chronic kidney disease can also take medications (as advised by their doctor) and by limiting proteins and sodium intake. A dietitian may also be of help in planning their diet and to keep a balanced nutrition.

By adhering to these recommendations, the elderly and their loved ones can be guided accordingly in preventing chronic kidney disease. Home care services can likewise be made more effective with the help of such guidelines to promote healthy living and disease prevention.


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