Kidney disease comes in various forms but the most prevalent is what is called chronic kidney disease (CKD). It can be very insidious and is usually found on routine blood tests. This is because chronic kidney disease generally has no symptoms until a large chunk of kidney function has been lost! In fact, you can lose up to 70-75% of kidney function in some cases before symptoms start to appear. This is a scary scenario since CKD can be a serious and debilitating disease.
What is chronic kidney disease?
But what is chronic kidney disease (CKD) anyway? It is a type of kidney disease in which there is gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months or years. There are other kinds of kidney diseases that can affect kidney function in a variety of individuals. These include conditions such as kidney infections (also bladder infections), kidney stones, congenital kidney diseases, inflammatory disease of the kidneys (called glomerulonephritis). Some of these can progress to chronic kidney disease if not treated in a timely manner or completely.
Chronic kidney disease is, therefore, a final common pathway for most diseases of the kidney. The worse news is that untreated CKD can and does progress to kidney failure (renal failure) -also referred to as end-stage renal disease, ESRD. Once CKD progresses to ESRD, the quality of life plummets and various complications start to manifest. When a person is diagnosed with ESRD, the options for improvement decrease drastically and dialysis or kidney transplant become the two main options.
How prevalent is CKD?
Here are some facts about chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- About 15% of the US population (about 37 million) are thought to have CKD.
- Of those who have CKD, about 90% are unaware they have it!
- About 50% of people with advanced CKD but not yet on dialysis do not know they have CKD
In the United States of America there is an increase of about 5% annually in the diagnosis of ESRD. The sad fact is that the mortality rate of patients with ESRD on dialysis is about 25% in the first year. Over a period of 5 years, only about 35% of dialysis patients will still be alive. Put in another way, of those who start dialysis for ESRD, about 65% will be dead in 5 years! This is a sad and sobering thought.
How do you treat CKD?
In this blog series, we will be concentrating on chronic kidney disease and exploring natural therapies and remedies for this common and serious condition. In the majority of cases, these natural kidney therapies can improve kidney function or halt or greatly reduce the decline in kidney function. This is good news indeed!
So here are some of the reason why we all need to learn, and become well versed in, natural remedies for CKD:
- CKD is common; commoner than most people are aware of. Diabetes is the number one cause of CKD and diabetes is, as everyone knows, very rampant in our society. Hypertension is the number 2 cause of CKD and it is also very common. If you have diabetes or hypertension, you have a very good chance of developing CKD. Indeed, you may already have CKD without even knowing it. Ask your doctor or medical Provider to order a blood test for you to check your kidney function today!
- Currently, there is no cure for CKD in conventional medicine. There are conventional treatments but these are, at best, meant to slow down the progression of CKD and not to reverse or cure it. And some may have unacceptable side effects.
- If chronic kidney disease is not halted or reversed, it will likely progress to kidney failure or ESRD and change your quality of life for the worse. If you have diabetes or hypertension, you have probably been told that it is a risk factor for many diseases including chronic kidney disease ESRD. Kidney failure is one of the most feared complications of diabetes because, almost universally, people have this dread of the dialysis machine.
Are there natural remedies for CKD?
It would be great to have easily available natural therapies for CKD, such a common and potentially debilitating and deadly disease. Indeed there are. And that is why this series of blog articles would seek to share with readers. I will try to provide as much information as possible to you so you can make an informed decision with your own doctor about your treatment options for your CKD. As a conventionally trained physician and Board certified Nephrologist, it may seem that talking about natural kidney therapies is a contradiction! But I can assure you that there is no contradiction here.
As you may know there has been, and continues to be, an awakening among conventionally trained (allopathic) physicians who are recognizing that there is more to the art and science of healing than what is taught in medical school and residency. More and more doctors are going back to basics and using natural and complementary therapies and remedies to help their patients recover from disease, more quickly and with no side effect in most cases. This does not mean that we repudiate conventional medicine. That form of medicine still has its place.
Some medical practitioners now using natural and alternative medicine do it in independent practices. Many still do it within a conventional setting. I belong to the latter, trickier, category. But my passion is as great for natural remedies and therapies for kidney disease and indeed all diseases as that of the most passionate advocate or practitioner or alternative and complementary medicine.
Get the knowledge and Gain the Power
When it comes to the idea of natural therapies and remedies of kidney disease, knowledge is truly power! And I am here to provide the knowledge so you can have the power. Chronic kidney disease is so common that it will likely impact you or a loved one in the course of your life. Let this blog provide you with the information you need so you can have the confidence to face and overcome CKD for yourself or a loved one.
Chronic kidney disease is common and pervasive. It is also serious. Conventional medicine does not have all the answers for the prevention and treatment of CKD. This blog aims to provide the knowledge, rooted in science, of natural alternatives that can help in the treatment of CKD.
In subsequent posts, I will share with you the specific therapies and remedies that can help improve kidney function in those with any stage of CKD. I think you will be surprised at how simple and effective some of the kidney disease therapies and remedies are. And you may be even more surprised at how cheap (in terms of cost) they can be. All without harsh side effects of chemical drugs!
Until next time, it is the Natural Medicine Ninja signing off.