Kidneys perform crucial functions affecting every part of our body. Their primary role is the excretion of metabolic end products, such as urea and uric acid, toxins and excess fluid from the body in the form of urine in order to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals and fluids. These bean-shaped organs function normally by filtering about 30% of plasma flow, generating approximately 150 liters of ultrafiltrate, which constitutes almost three times the total body water of a 70 kg weighing person. That’s why kidneys are the so-called filters of the human body.
When kidneys fail to perform their normal functions patients run the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease, which is a major health concern especially in patients with diabetes and hypertension. Kidney disease is defined as the presence of kidney damage for a period greater than 3 months with a reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR < 60 mL/min/1,73 m2).
Clinical studies show that 10% of the general population, for example 26 million American adults, have or are in increased risk of CKD.
That is the reason why the National Kidney Foundation-K/DOQI has classified CKD in stages in order to develop an intervention plan for evaluation and management of each stage and define the characteristics of individuals at risk.
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Before analysing CKD stages and providing information about symptoms and the possible interventions, it is crucial to recognize the risk factors for CKD. There are people who are prone to CKD, with significant susceptibility to the disease. The main risk factors include older age, family history of CKD, reduction of renal mass (such as in low birth weight).
Other diseases that can directly damage kidneys are diabetes, hypertension, urinary stones, urinary tract infections, lower urinary tract obstruction etc. Furthermore, risk factors for progression of every stage are high levels of proteinuria, uncontrolled blood pressure, poor glycemic control of diabetes, smoking, obesity and so on, and this is why there should be immediate management of these conditions in order to slow progression from stage to stage.