Chronic Kidney Disease in the Elderly

Chronic kidney disease is an illness that often affects the elderly. It is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over a long time period. This disease differs from acute kidney disease due to its duration and its severity. Chronic kidney disease includes a myriad of conditions, but all of them lead to a gradual loss in kidney function which can lead to a gradual loss of health. If you have had troubles with your kidneys in the past, then it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about chronic kidney disease. You could be at risk for this disease without even knowing it. Keep reading to find out more about the disease, its symptoms and its treatment.

Chronic kidney disease encompasses a myriad of diseases. All of these conditions can cause your kidneys to slowly lose their function and lose their ability to keep your body healthy. Properly functioning kidneys work hard to filter your blood and remove waste products from your body through your urinary system. Your kidneys are bean shaped organs that are located in your lower back. Each day they filter your blood and remove any excess water and waste products. The waste products and water are then filtered through your urinary system and will leave your body through your urine. In a healthy person, kidneys can remove up to 2 quarts of waste products per day. People with chronic kidney disease will slowly lose their ability to filter their blood and remove waste products from their body. Overtime, these waste products can build up in your blood and cause widespread health issues.

The wastes that your kidneys filter from your blood come directly from your body’s cells. Each cell in your body produces waste products as byproducts of their main function. Your body can then recycle these waste products and use them elsewhere, or filter them through the kidneys for removal. Your kidneys will also receive waste products from the foods that you eat. You cannot possibly utilize every nutrient and calorie that you eat each day, and all of the excess nutrients and calories are designated as waste products by your body. They will travel to your kidneys via your blood and will be removed from your body in your urine. Your kidneys filter your blood to remove any waste products in the nephrons. In chronic kidney disease, your nephrons will lose their function. The excess waste products from the food you eat and from your cell’s daily activities will begin to build up in your blood.

Symptoms and Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease

Many people who have chronic kidney disease may not even know it. This is because the body has an amazing ability to be resilient. Your body will adapt to your loss of kidney function and you may not experience any symptoms for quite a while. For this reason, it is important to tell your doctor about any kidney issues you have had in the past, and tell them your full medical history. Many conditions can lead to chronic kidney disease, and if you have one of them, then your doctor may check your kidneys frequently. Conditions such as diabetes, lupus, urinary tract infections and high blood pressure can lead to chronic kidney disease. If you have these conditions, then it is important to keep an eye on your kidney function. Early detection of chronic kidney disease can greatly improve your health and keep your kidneys working great for many years.

If you do not have one of the previously mentioned diseases or conditions, then you can still get chronic kidney disease. Since the disease can be so life-threatening, it is important to detect it early and get proper treatment. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms and tell your doctor if you have any of them:

  • Constant fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Muscle Cramping
  • Swollen Feet and Ankles
  • Dry Skin
  • Frequent Urination

Chronic kidney disease can occur at any age; however it is the most common in the elderly population. Some of the previously mentioned symptoms may just be a sign of growing older, but if you experience them frequently and experience many of them at once then talk to your doctor immediately.


If your doctor runs the necessary tests and realizes that you do have chronic kidney disease then it is important to start a treatment plan as soon as possible. Early treatment can help prolong your life and keep your lifestyle as normal as possible. Unfortunately, one of the most common treatments for chronic kidney disease is dialysis. This is a type of treatment that involves your blood being filtrated through a dialysis machine in order to remove waste products. If your disease is severe, then dialysis is a great option to keep you healthy. Unfortunately, dialysis is a lengthy process and can disrupt your life. In severe cases of chronic kidney disease kidney transplant is an alternative option to dialysis.   Other common treatments deal with kidney disease complications and include high blood pressure medications, medications to lower cholesterol levels, medications to treat anemia, medication to relieve swelling, medications to protect the bones and lower protein diet to minimize waste products in the. For people with chronic kidney disease, it is important to treat the cause of the disease. If your loss of kidney function is due to diabetes, then it will be vital to keep your blood sugar in check and your diabetes controlled. Everyone with the disease will benefit from eating healthy and exercising. Doctors often will prescribe a low salt, high fiber diet to keep your body functioning at optimum level.

If you or someone you love may have chronic kidney disease, then talk with a doctor immediately. The symptoms mentioned above could be very serious and need to be checked out. If these symptoms do turn out to be chronic kidney disease, then it is vital to get proper treatment as soon as possible. The treatment will vary from person to person depending on how severe the disease is and what the initial cause of the disease was.