Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term condition where the kidneys don’t work as well as they should. It’s a common condition often associated with getting older. Anyone can get it, although it’s more common in black people and people of South Asian origin. CKD can get gradually worse over time and eventually the kidneys may stop working altogether, but this is uncommon. Many people with kidney disease are able to live long, largely normal lives.
There are usually no symptoms of kidney disease in the early stages. It may only be picked up if blood or urine tests carried out for another reason detect a possible problem with your kidneys. When it reaches a more advanced stage, symptoms can include tiredness, pain in ankle and feeling of sickness.
CKD can be diagnosed using blood and urine tests. These tests are used to look for high levels of certain substances in your blood and urine that are signs your kidneys aren’t working properly. If you’re at a high risk of developing kidney disease – for example, you have one of the conditions mentioned above – you may be advised to have regular tests to check for CKD so it’s picked up at an early stage. The results of your blood and urine tests can be used to tell the stage of your kidney disease. This is a number that reflects how severe the damage to your kidneys is, with a higher number indicating more serious CKD.