It’s quite well known that the “three highs” – high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood glucose – are risk factors for developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
These factors are also linked to chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Meanwhile, the chance of CKD patients developing cardiovascular diseases is 10-20 times higher than that of non-CKD patients.
In other words, patients with a heart condition might not suffer from a renal disease, but it could be quite certain for those with renal problems to develop a heart disease.
The reason for this is that worsening renal functions contribute to high blood pressure, which in turn not only induces heart problems but also accelerates renal failure.
Regular health check-ups should be conducted for early diagnosis and treatment of renal problems.
Generally speaking, those who are of an older age, obese, diabetic, with three-high conditions, or whose family has a history of polycystic kidney disease are more likely to develop CKD.
However, when the disease is still at an early stage, there might not be any symptoms.
Also, signs and symptoms for CKD even at an advanced stage are similar to those of other problems in the urinary system, such as blood in urine, frequent urination, feeling pain while peeing, reduced urine output, poor appetite, itchy skin, shortness of breath and edema.
Patients with these signs and symptoms would already have reached the end-stage of renal disease, or worse, an established renal failure, where dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary.
CKD can be diagnosed by measuring blood pressure and taking blood and urine tests.
The levels of proteins present in the urine would be measured in the urine test to examine the possibility of having developed CKD, while the level of creatinine – a waste product – would be measured in a blood test to assess the performance of the kidney functions.
People who have worrying symptoms or whose families have a history of CKD should take other in-depth tests to assess possible kidney damage. These include ultrasound scan, computerized tomography (CT) scan and kidney biopsy.
Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease, along with a healthy diet, could help reduce damages in the kidneys, which would also help lower the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 25
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]