The silent approach to chronic kidney disease plus nutritious diet tips

Chronic kidney disease is an exceptionally common condition with non-specific symptoms that develop slowly over time. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common causes of the disease in adults.

The kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from the blood to excrete it through urination. When chronic kidney disease (CKD) is not managed properly in the early stages, kidney function will gradually deteriorate, eventually developing into chronic kidney failure, known as uremia.

Renal patients may present with edema, fatigue, anemia, oliguria, or decreased urine production. Chronic kidney disease may also be associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, and may lead to premature death. In the later stage, dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant is required.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than one in seven, or 15 percent, of adults in the United States live with CKD, with as many as nine in 10 being unaware of their condition. Moreover, about two-fifths of adults with acute chronic kidney disease do not know they have it.

Causes of chronic kidney disease

  • diabetes.
  • Hypertension.
  • Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the small filters in the kidneys).
  • Interstitial nephritis (inflamed kidney tubules).
  • Polycystic kidney disease (cysts).
  • Long-term urinary tract obstruction, such as an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and cancerous tumors.
  • Medicines that cause nephropathy (deterioration of kidney function).

stages of chronic kidney disease

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a functional indicator that indicates how well the kidneys filter waste products from the blood and can reflect the degree of damage to the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation divides CKD into five levels of severity based on the GFR value.

  • Stage I: glomerular filtration rate greater than 90 – normal kidney function.
  • Stage II: GFR = 60 ~ 89 – mild kidney damage.
  • Stage III: GFR = 30 ~ 59 – moderate impairment of renal function.
  • Fourth stage: glomerular filtration rate = 15 ~ 29 – severe impairment of renal function.
  • Stage V: glomerular filtration rate is less than 15 – the kidneys cannot function normally, uremic symptoms appear, and dialysis (a treatment to filter waste and water from the blood) may be needed.

Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, which is usually achieved by controlling the cause(s). In this regard, what special care should kidney patients take in their daily diet?

1. salt: People with chronic kidney disease should control their intake of three types of salt: sodium, potassium and phosphorous.

2. vegetables: People with kidney problems or those who are worried about kidney problems should choose low-sodium, low-potassium, low-phosphorous, nutritious vegetables, such as cauliflower, radish, daikon, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, garlic, red pepper, etc.

3. Fruit: Red grapes, pineapples, cranberries, and cranberries are low in phosphorus, sodium, and potassium, yet they are rich in anthocyanins, as well as a variety of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. It is good for kidney disease patients, including those with urinary tract infections.

4. protein and fat: When choosing food oil, olive oil should be the first choice, as it is rich in essential fatty acids and anti-inflammatory. In addition, sea bass is a nutritious source of protein and fat, as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect the kidneys and reduce inflammation.

5. other foodsBuckwheat: Nutritious and gluten-free – great for people with chronic kidney disease. Bulgur (ground wheat) is also a nutritious, nutrient-packed grain – a healthy addition to the diet.

Epoch Health articles are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individual medical advice. Please consult a trusted professional for personalized medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. I have a question? Email us at [email protected]

Dr. Jingduan Yang is a faculty member at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, former assistant professor of psychiatry, and director of the Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture Program at the Jefferson Myrna Brain Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. He completed a research fellowship in clinical psychopharmacology at Oxford University, a residency training in psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and a Bravewell fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona. You can learn more about Dr. Yang at his website,