Infographics (visual education)
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) — A diagnosis your doctor(s) can make. This is usually based on abnormal blood & urine tests that may show decreased kidney function, or an injury to the kidney(s) that has occurred over time.
Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) — An estimation of your kidneys’ overall function (i.e. its ability to filter your blood and remove toxins).
Creatinine — A normal muscle breakdown product measured in your blood (part of your routine blood work). It is used via a math formula to estimate the GFR.
Potassium (K+) — An essential electrolyte/mineral for bodily function. Very high, or very low levels can cause problems with your heart and muscles. The kidney is the main regulator of potassium in your body.
Sodium (Na+) — When bonded with chloride you get salt (NaCl). We take in far more than we need in our diet. Excess often leads to hypertension and swelling (edema), especially in CKD patients.
Hypertension — High blood pressure. Persistent elevation of blood pressure above 140/90, unless you have CKD or Diabetes (these lower your goal to <130/80).
Vitamin D — Needed to absorb calcium and phosphorus from your intestines. Its regulation involves the kidney, liver, and sunlight. Populations with lower exposure to sunlight are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency, especially patients with CKD.
Anemia — Lower than normal amount of red blood cells present. A blood test measures your hemoglobin or hematocrit to determine if anemia is present. This can be caused from many different things including CKD.
Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) — Produced by your parathyroid glands (located inside the thyroid gland). Regulates the calcium and phosphorus levels in your body. Patients with CKD are at high risk of this hormone becoming unbalanced.
Proteinuria — An abnormal finding of protein in the urine. Usually suggests injury to the kidney.
Hematuria — An abnormal finding of blood in the urine. Normally caused by injury or inflammation of the urinary tract (anywhere from your bladder to the kidneys). Often only seen by microscope. Common causes are bladder infection and/or kidney stones.
Edema — Swelling caused by fluid that has leaked out of the blood vessels into the body’s tissues. Usually occurs in the lower legs, but can occur elsewhere. Often related to too much sodium intake; patients with CKD have trouble excreting the extra salt and fluid so they are more at risk for this.