Managing Chronic Kidney Disease

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and millions of others have increased risk.

Those considered to be at increased risk include people with hypertension, diabetes, or a family history of kidney disease.

Early detection and treatment can help keep CKD from progressing. As the disease progresses wastes build to high levels in the blood; complications such as high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, and nerve damage can occur and increase the risk of heart and blood vessel disease. Chronic kidney disease may eventually lead to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or kidney transplant.

Kidney disease is measured in stages 1-5. Learn more about the stages of kidney disease.

Our dedicated CKD Clinic

The nephrologists at Desert Kidney Associates are experts in the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Our clinic focuses on educating patients and involving them in their own care. We work to slow the progression of CKD, identify risk for cardiovascular disease, and evaluate CKD patients to decrease risk for complications from surgery.

The nephrologists design treatment plans and work closely with nurse practitioners to form a health management team.

Anemia Management

Patients with CKD are prone to low red blood cell count, also known as anemia. Anemia starts in the third stage of kidney disease; as the kidneys become more compromised and the cells responsible for producing a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO) die. EPO is key to red blood cell production because it travels to the bone marrow and and triggers the mechanisms that help red blood cells mature.

We treat patients for anemia using epogen and iron infusion shots. Depending on the severity of anemia shots are scheduled once every week to once every two months.

Hypertension

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major factor in the development of kidney problems in patients with diabetes.

Hypertension not only causes kidney disease, but can also occur as a result of damage created by kidney disease. As kidney disease proceeds, physical changes in the kidneys lead to increased blood pressure. Therefore, a dangerous spiral involving rising blood pressure and factors that raise blood pressure, occurs. Early detection and treatment of even mild hypertension are essential for people with diabetes.

As part of our CKD clinic, we offer close blood pressure monitoring and medication adjustment to help manage blood pressure.

Hyperparathyroidism

The parathyroid glands produce a chemical called parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH is helps to control calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D levels in the body. When the parathyroid glands are overactive, it is called hyperparathyroidism.

Kidney disease is a common cause of secondary hyperparathyroidism (secondary because it caused by another condition in the body). Kidney failure can interfere with the body’s ability to remove phosphate, and too much phosphate causes changes in calcium levels. When the calcium levels in the body are too low, the parathyroid gland responds by producing extra PTH which extracts calcium from the bones to be reabsorbed by the kidney and intestines.

As part of our CKD clinic, we help patients manage calcium and vitamin D levels, and help them to avoid phosphate in their diets. Ins some cases, parathyroid surgery may be necessary.