5 Facts: Chronic Kidney Disease

Teacher Jacqueline Hill undergoing dialysis

Here are 5 important facts about chronic kidney disease (CKD).

  1. There are currently more than 2,000 Jamaicans currently on the registry with chronic kidney disease. Approximately 800 of them are on dialysis, suffering from end-stage renal failure.
  2. CKD may be caused by conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of kidney failure. The disease may also lead to complications like high blood pressure, anaemia, weak bones and nerve damage. It also increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. 
  3. Premature death from these causes and from cardiovascular disease is higher in adults with CKD than in adults without the disease. Individuals with CKD are 16 to 40 times more likely to die than to reach end-stage renal failure.
  4. Chronic kidney disease can be detected using three simple tests: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine.
  5. Although many people do not have any severe symptoms until the disease is advanced, these are some of the signs to look out for:
    • if you constantly feel tired and have little energy
    • if you have trouble concentrating
    • if you have a poor appetite
    • if you have trouble sleeping
    • if you have muscle cramping at night
    • if you have swollen feet and ankles
    • if you have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
    • if you have dry, itchy skin
    • if you need to urinate more often, especially at night

Sources: National Kidney Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)