Chronic Kidney Disease

Helping you manage CKD with lifestyle changes and medicine

With chronic kidney disease (CKD), the functioning of your kidneys gradually declines. As the disease advances, waste and excess fluids build up in your body, causing health problems.

More than 10 percent of U.S. adults have at least mild chronic kidney disease. IU Health physicians can help you manage chronic kidney disease with lifestyle changes and medicine so you can prevent complications.

Kidney disease occurs in five stages, from mild to severe. The fifth stage, also known as kidney (renal) failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), means your kidneys have limited function. With ESRD, you must have regular hemodialysis, where a machine removes waste and fluid from your blood, or you may need a kidney transplant.

Other complications of chronic kidney disease can include:

  • Anemia
  • Nerve damage
  • Weakening of bones
  • Cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease and heart failure

Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms

Most people do not have any symptoms until the condition worsens. Symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Swelling of the ankles and feet
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Decreased appetite

Chronic Kidney Disease Risks

Your chance of developing chronic kidney disease increases after age 50. Conditions that can cause chronic kidney disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and scleroderma
  • Kidney infections
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Medicine, including certain pain and cancer drugs
  • Injuries

Overview

Kidney disease occurs in five stages, from mild to severe. The fifth stage, also known as kidney (renal) failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), means your kidneys have limited function. With ESRD, you must have regular hemodialysis, where a machine removes waste and fluid from your blood, or you may need a kidney transplant.

Other complications of chronic kidney disease can include:

  • Anemia
  • Nerve damage
  • Weakening of bones
  • Cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease and heart failure

Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms

Most people do not have any symptoms until the condition worsens. Symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Swelling of the ankles and feet
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Decreased appetite

Chronic Kidney Disease Risks

Your chance of developing chronic kidney disease increases after age 50. Conditions that can cause chronic kidney disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and scleroderma
  • Kidney infections
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Medicine, including certain pain and cancer drugs
  • Injuries

At IU Health, experts treat all stages of chronic kidney disease. Your physician will provide therapies to prevent or delay further kidney damage and help you avoid complications. Your physician will develop an individualized care plan for your specific needs, concerns and preferences.

Your IU Health physician has access to the most innovative options for diagnosing and treating chronic kidney disease through affiliation with Indiana University School of Medicine. IU Health researchers also conduct studies on ways to improve care and take an active role in training new generations of physicians.

IU Health physicians offer treatment for chronic kidney disease based on your specific needs and lifestyle. Options include:

  • Blood pressure medicine. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 (diastolic/systolic), and if you have chronic kidney disease, your target should be 130/80. Research has shown that blood pressure medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) help limit kidney damage and lower your risk for heart disease.
  • Phosphate binders: Phosphorous is important for healthy bones, blood vessels and muscles. In people with chronic kidney disease, phosphorous can build to high levels, causing weakened bones and other problems. A diet low in phosphorous may be enough to control this problem. However, if you are in the more advanced stages of chronic kidney disease, you may need medicine to help clear phosphorous from your body. These medicines work only if you take them within 30 minutes of a meal.
  • Dietary changes. Being careful about what you eat and drink can help prevent kidney damage. A diet low in fat, cholesterol, sodium and potassium may help control chronic kidney disease, along with cardiovascular disease.

Treatment

At IU Health, experts treat all stages of chronic kidney disease. Your physician will provide therapies to prevent or delay further kidney damage and help you avoid complications. Your physician will develop an individualized care plan for your specific needs, concerns and preferences.

Your IU Health physician has access to the most innovative options for diagnosing and treating chronic kidney disease through affiliation with Indiana University School of Medicine. IU Health researchers also conduct studies on ways to improve care and take an active role in training new generations of physicians.

IU Health physicians offer treatment for chronic kidney disease based on your specific needs and lifestyle. Options include:

  • Blood pressure medicine. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 (diastolic/systolic), and if you have chronic kidney disease, your target should be 130/80. Research has shown that blood pressure medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) help limit kidney damage and lower your risk for heart disease.
  • Phosphate binders: Phosphorous is important for healthy bones, blood vessels and muscles. In people with chronic kidney disease, phosphorous can build to high levels, causing weakened bones and other problems. A diet low in phosphorous may be enough to control this problem. However, if you are in the more advanced stages of chronic kidney disease, you may need medicine to help clear phosphorous from your body. These medicines work only if you take them within 30 minutes of a meal.
  • Dietary changes. Being careful about what you eat and drink can help prevent kidney damage. A diet low in fat, cholesterol, sodium and potassium may help control chronic kidney disease, along with cardiovascular disease.

Dec 06

Can you share your spare?

“Dialysis is the most depressing and time-consuming part of this stormy season of my life,” says Kaci Jackson-Mileham, who has been waiting for a transplant since September 2021. Jackson-Mileham was diagnosed at age seven with polycystic kidney disease. Her younger brother has the same disease. “I was told the form of the disease I had would not cause me any problems until later in life,” she says. “I lived a pretty normal life with hardly any complications.” At the age of 18, Jackson-Mileham partnered with IU Health Arnett nephrologist James Sutton, MD, for her care. He felt her kidney function was good and she had no major issues. Even during her first pregnancy, things were mostly ok. Baby number 2 changed things The plan she discussed with Sutton and her IU Health Arnett obstetrician Noel Wallace was to not have any more children due to the impact it could have on her kidneys. But life had other plans. “I cried when I found out I was pregnant,” says Jackson-Mileham, whose kidneys began to decline by month seven of her pregnancy. “Dr. Sutton was very caring, very hands-on and explained that my disease is my disease. It will progress on its

Can you share your spare? image.

Patient Stories for Chronic Kidney Disease

Dec 06

Can you share your spare?

“Dialysis is the most depressing and time-consuming part of this stormy season of my life,” says Kaci Jackson-Mileham, who has been waiting for a transplant since September 2021. Jackson-Mileham was diagnosed at age seven with polycystic kidney disease. Her younger brother has the same disease. “I was told the form of the disease I had would not cause me any problems until later in life,” she says. “I lived a pretty normal life with hardly any complications.” At the age of 18, Jackson-Mileham partnered with IU Health Arnett nephrologist James Sutton, MD, for her care. He felt her kidney function was good and she had no major issues. Even during her first pregnancy, things were mostly ok. Baby number 2 changed things The plan she discussed with Sutton and her IU Health Arnett obstetrician Noel Wallace was to not have any more children due to the impact it could have on her kidneys. But life had other plans. “I cried when I found out I was pregnant,” says Jackson-Mileham, whose kidneys began to decline by month seven of her pregnancy. “Dr. Sutton was very caring, very hands-on and explained that my disease is my disease. It will progress on its

Can you share your spare? image.

American Kidney Fund

This charitable organization, which helps dialysis patients with health insurance payments and other treatment-related expenses, provides information on many kidney conditions and treatments.

Resources

American Kidney Fund

This charitable organization, which helps dialysis patients with health insurance payments and other treatment-related expenses, provides information on many kidney conditions and treatments.