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Kidney Disease

Your kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from your blood. But when you have kidney disease, waste builds up in your blood.

This can cause a number of serious health problems, including the following:

Kidney disease: what you should know

  • If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you have the highest risk of developing kidney disease. Other risk factors include the following:
  • If you have any of the above conditions, your doctor can screen you for kidney disease (also known as chronic kidney disease or CKD).
  • There is no cure for kidney disease, but there are ways to slow disease progression if you catch it early.
  • A healthy diet can help slow the progression of kidney disease. That means reducing the amount of sodium (salt) and high-fat proteins you eat, while increasing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
  • If left untreated, kidney disease can progress into kidney failure, in which your kidneys stop working.
  • Treatment options for kidney failure include the following:

Symptoms of kidney disease

Most people do not have any signs of kidney disease until it has advanced. Some symptoms of advanced kidney disease include the following:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Swollen ankles
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps

Having these symptoms does not mean you have kidney disease. Many other conditions have similar symptoms. Specialists at Rush can get to the root of your problem.

How can I get help for kidney disease?

If your primary care physician determines that your kidneys are not functioning properly, nephrologists at Rush provide comprehensive care that can slow the progression of kidney disease and help you feel better.

Care for kidney disease at Rush

  • Diagnostic tests: Urine and blood tests detect kidney damage and measure how well your kidneys are working.
  • Diet and lifestyle modification: Improving your diet, quitting smoking and exercising more can help slow the progression of your disease.
  • Medications: Certain medications that help control blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol can slow kidney disease progression.
  • Nutrition counseling: Dietitians at Rush can help you establish healthy eating habits to improve your overall health and kidney function.

Why choose Rush for kidney disease care

  • The Division of Nephrology provides comprehensive care for people with a wide range of kidney diseases. The nephrology program at Rush is consistently named among the best in the country in U.S. News & World Report.
  • Kidney specialists at Rush have gained worldwide attention for research they’ve done on a special medication regimen for people with diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Research at Rush that focused on slowing the progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes led to changes in American Diabetes Association recommendations regarding standards of clinical practice in this area.

Departments and programs that treat this condition