What Are the Health Risks if Kidney Disease Is Untreated?
Why are kidneys so important?
Your kidneys filter waste and excess water from your blood, sending these substances out of your body as urine.
Healthy kidney function is vital to maintaining the correct balance of water, sodium, potassium, calcium, and other minerals throughout your body. The kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure and stimulate red blood cell production in your bone marrow.
What are the health effects of untreated kidney disease?
Health complications related to kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD), tend to worsen in severity as the disease advances, including:
- Bone weakness and increased fracture risk
- Persistent and sometimes disabling fluid retention
- Heart disease
- Extremely elevated blood pressure
- Hyperkalemia (elevated potassium), causing life-threatening heart arrhythmia
- Muscle loss
- Weakened immune system
- Cognitive impairment
CKD is a progressive condition that can lead to end-stage kidney failure. Because you can’t survive without functioning kidneys, your only treatment option at that point is dialysis or a kidney transplant.
How can I prevent kidney disease?
You can’t always prevent chronic kidney disease, but you can take steps to help decrease your risk factors, many of which are related to your vascular (circulatory) health.
For instance, your kidneys rely on healthy blood flow through the renal arteries that carry oxygen and other nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD), uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, and other conditions compromise your vascular health and can impair kidney function.
Other risk factors for kidney disease include:
- Excess weight
- Elevated cholesterol
- Autoimmune disease
- Bladder obstruction
- Cirrhosis and liver failure
You can decrease your risk factors for these conditions and CKD by following a nutritionally sound diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.
If you’re already experiencing symptoms of vascular issues such as PAD, including swelling in your legs and feet, cramping pain in the legs with activity, or nonhealing sores on the legs, schedule a vascular work-up at Frontier Medical Care.
Depending on your symptoms, medical history, and exam results, Dr. Marzouk may recommend a vascular ultrasound to monitor blood flow through your peripheral arteries.
Based on those results, he may recommend medication or minimally invasive treatments such as angioplasty to help open narrowed arteries and restore healthy blood flow.
For end-stage kidney disease that requires hemodialysis, Dr. Marzouk also performs in-office AV fistula and graft procedures for dialysis access.
Make an appointment at Frontier Medical Care today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.