What is kidney disease?
Kidney disease, or nephropathy, is the deterioration of kidney function. According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney disease. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to kidney disease, although Type 1 is more likely to lead to kidney failure, the fifth and final stage of kidney disease.
What are the symptoms?
- Poor appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Muscle cramps, especially at night
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Dry, itchy skin
What treatment options are available?
The onset and progression of diabetic nephropathy can be slowed by intensive management of diabetes and its symptoms. As kidney disease progresses, physical changes in the kidneys often lead to increased blood pressure, so treatment may include taking medications to lower blood pressure. Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) can make the progress toward stage five diabetic nephropathy (kidney failure) occur more rapidly. If kidney failure occurs, dialysis treatment or transplantation may be needed to survive.
- Peritoneal dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis is performed by surgically placing a special, soft, hollow tube into the lower abdomen near the navel. After the tube is placed, a special solution called dialysate is instilled into the peritoneal cavity, the space in the abdomen that houses the organs. The dialysate is left in the abdomen for a designated period of time as determined by your physician. The dialysate fluid absorbs the waste products and toxins through the peritoneum. The fluid is then drained from the abdomen, measured, and discarded. There are two different types of peritoneal dialysis: continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and continuous cyclic peritoneal dialysis (CCPD):
- CAPD does not require a machine. Exchanges, often referred to as passes, can be done three to five times a day, during waking hours.
- CCPD requires the use of a special dialysis machine that can be used in the home. This type of dialysis is done automatically, even while you’re asleep.
- Hemodialysis. Hemodialysis is performed in a dialysis center by trained health care professionals. A special type of access, called an arteriovenous (AV) fistula, is placed surgically, usually in the arm. This involves joining an artery and a vein together. After access has been established, you will be connected to a hemodialysis machine that drains your blood, bathes it in a special dialysate solution that removes waste substances and fluid, then returns it to your bloodstream. Hemodialysis is usually performed several times a week and lasts four to five hours per visit.