Monday 15 July 2019

What does my husband's kidney disease mean for him?

Ask the Doctor

With Nina Byrnes

Stock photo
Stock photo

Q: My husband has told me that he has stage 3 kidney disease, but he doesn't really know what this means for him. Can you help?

A: Our kidneys act like a filter for our blood, making sure that waste and extra fluid end up in the toilet, and optimising the fluid balance in our bodies. The kidneys also perform an important function in the regulation of salts and other electrolytes in the blood.

There are five stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD), ranging from very mild kidney problems, referred to as stage 1, all the way though to complete kidney failure, which is stage 5.

eGFR is a blood test that measures how well the kidney filter system is working. Normal kidneys have an eGFR of >90. Diabetes and high blood pressure are major risk factors contributing to the development of CKD.

Lifestyle is extremely important in the management of all stages of kidney disease. Maintain a healthy weight, get 30 minutes of exercise daily, eat well, nourish your body, don't smoke and avoid excess alcohol. Make sure blood sugars are under control and ensure blood pressure is maintained within normal limits.

Stage 3 kidney disease generally refers to those with an eGFR of between 30 and 59. The kidneys, at this stage, are not working as well as they should. Swelling of feet, changes in urinary frequency and back pain may be apparent. Those with stage 3 CKD are at risk of high blood pressure, anaemia and bone problems. Medication and close monitoring by a nephrologist are required.

Irish Independent

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