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One-tenth of the world’s population suffers from some degree of kidney disease without even knowing. As the condition progresses it can turn chronic and there is always the chance that the accumulated damage to the kidneys becomes irreversible. One of the challenges is the early diagnosis of this “silent epidemic” as it tends to only produce symptoms in advanced stages when the kidney has already been damaged.
Chronic Kidney Failure explained in first person
Professionals and patients explain how you live with the disease
The treatment of chronic renal failure must be adapted to each of the stages in the evolution of chronic kidney disease.
Manel VeraKidney specialist
Try not to suffer too much, I mean you only have to look after your own health a bit more.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive and irreversible deterioration of renal function. That means the kidneys slowly lose their ability to eliminate toxins and control the amount of water in the body. Most cases eventually develop into chronic kidney disease but after a variable period of time and so it may take several years to reach the chronic stage following the initial diagnosis.
When the kidneys start to lose function, then they also stop producing a series of hormones that help regulate blood pressure and stimulate red blood cell production (erythropoietin) and calcium absorption from food in order to maintain healthy bones (vitamin D).
The kidneys are formed by a twin pair of bean-shaped, fist-sized organs. They are located in the middle of the back, just above the waist. They are vital for survival, but humans can live and follow a normal life with just one kidney. Their main functions are to filter waste products from the blood and maintain the balance between the body’s salt (electrolyte) and water levels. The kidneys are part of the urinary system along with the urethra, urinary bladder and ureters.
In function of their weight, the average adult has between 4 and 6 litres of blood circulating around their body. The renal arteries supply and circulate blood through the kidneys. Each kidney relies on over 1 million tiny filters (nephrons) to purify/filter approximately 1500 litres of blood per day. The substances filtered by the kidneys, along with water, are transformed into urine. Urine leaves the kidneys via some small tubes (ureters) and then accumulates in the bladder. If the kidneys do not eliminate the by-products they accumulate in the blood and have a negative impact on the body.
The kidneys also produce hormones: active vitamin D, required to absorb calcium from foods; and erythropoietin, which regulates blood pressure and stimulates red blood cell production.
Els ronyons també produeixen hormones: la vitamina D activa necessària per absorbir el calci dels aliments i l’eritropoetina, important per regular la tensió arterial i estimular la producció de glòbuls rojos.
It's Chronic Kidney Disease very common?
There are estimated to be around 50,000 people with chronic kidney disease in Spain, which means 1180 individuals per million suffer from chronic kidney disease. Half of these patients receive transplants and the other half dialysis.
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Substantiated information by:
Anna YugueroPhysiotherapistNephrology Department
Bárbara Romano AndrioniDietitian - NutritionistEndocrinology and Nutrition Department
Manel Vera RiveraNephrologistNephrology Department
Marta Quintela MartínezNurseNephrology Department
María Teresa López AlonsoNursing of Vascular AccessNephrology Department
Montserrat Monereo FontSocial WorkerNephrology Department
Ángeles Mayordomo SanzPeritoneal Dialysis NurseNephrology Department
Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018
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