​Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which the kidneys lose some of their ability to remove waste and excess water from the bloodstream. CKD eventually leads to kidney failure when your blood builds up harmful levels of waste and electrolytes that may become fatal.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD. Other conditions which may cause CKD include

 A number of factors can increase the risk of developing CKD, including:

  • Diabetes mellitus

  • High blood pressure

  • A family history of kidney disease

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • Heart disease

  • Having protein in the urine

  • Having autoimmune diseases such as lupus​​ nephritis

Most people with CKD do not have symptoms until the kidney function is severely impaired. The problem is often discovered when blood or urine tests done for other reasons show one or more of the abnormalities mentioned above.  Symptoms for CKD only start to appear as it advances and the proper function of the kidney deteriorates. These may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Shortness of breath

  • High blood pressure

  • Poor sleep patterns

  • Twitching of the muscles and leg cramps

  • Swelling of feet and ankles

  • Itching

  • Drowsiness​​

If you find any of the signs and symptoms associated with chronic kidney disease, have yourself examined by your family doctor and seek consultation from the qualified staff of the K​idney and Bladder Service Line​ at the Aga Khan University Hospital. Signs and symptoms associated with kidney failure are also common to other diseases so it is important that you have your doctor monitor your overall vital signs ​​
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. H​er​e​ are some tips to help get you started. ​​
Blood and urine tests are performed to find out whether your kidneys are functioning properly. Additionally, your doctor may use an ultrasound or another imaging test to assess the structure and size of your kidneys.​

Your doctor may request the following tests and procedures:
  • Complete blood count (CBC): One or more parameters related to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets might be affected in this condition, giving a clue towards etiology and further diagnostic approach. Therefore, it is an ancillary test in the diagnostic workup of this disease.
  • Reticulocyte count: One of the laboratory parameters to assess hemoglobin production as it may be decreased in patients with chronic kidney/renal disease.
Disclaimer: Kindly consult your physician before getting the above-mentioned tests.

After the diagnosis, CKD may be treatable depending on the cause. However, in most cases there is no cure for the disease. The treatment is then focused towards managing the symptoms and preventing the onset of a serious health concern.
If your kidneys become severely damaged, you may need treatment for end-stage kidney disease (dialysis or kidney transplant).

  • Dialysis: dialysis artificially performs the functions of your kidneys and removes the buildup of waste and fluid when your kidneys can no longer do this.

  • Kidney transplant: A kidney transplant involves surgically placing a healthy kidney from a donor into your body. In order to keep your body from rejecting the new organ, you will also need to keep taking medications for the rest of your life.​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

​​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.