Early detection of kidney disease is vital – but many who have the condition are unaware of it.
Dr Austin Stack, a consultant nephrologist at Limerick Regional Hospital, said picking it up early could slow or delay the progression of kidney disease and reduce the need for dialysis or transplantation.
He was speaking at the launch of a new book to help patients in Ireland who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, giving them information on understanding and taking control of their illness.
The book, entitled 'Living with Chronic Kidney Disease – A Guide for Patients', was launched at the Irish Kidney Association's renal support centre located on the grounds of Beaumont Hospital.
He said: "This new addition to the Irish Kidney Association kidney book series will be a fantastic reservoir of knowledge for our patients in Ireland."
Most people with chronic kidney disease have no symptoms because the body can tolerate even a large reduction in kidney function.
If the kidneys continue to lose function and there is progression towards kidney failure, this will usually be tracked by blood tests and monitoring. If kidney failure does occur, the symptoms may include:
* Weight loss and poor appetite.
* Swollen ankles, feet or hands (due to water retention).
* Shortness of breath.
* Blood or protein in your urine.
* An increased need to urinate, particularly at night.
* Itchy skin.
* Muscle cramps.
Copies are available free by phone at (01) 620 53 06; email email@example.com or download it at www.ika.ie