Other Complications Caused by Chronic Kidney Disease and their Treatments

chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease causes numerous problems throughout the body, which may affect other organs and cause abnormalities in their functioning.

Symptoms of Chronic kidney disease

Symptoms of chronic kidney disease usually develop very slowly. As kidney failure progresses and metabolic waste builds up in the blood, symptoms also progress.

Mild to moderate renal insufficiency 

People with mild to moderate renal insufficiency may show only mild symptoms, such as urinating many times during the night (nocturia). Nocturia occurs because the kidneys cannot absorb water from the urine to reduce its volume and concentrate it, typically at night.

Wastes accumulation

As kidney function worsens and more metabolic waste accumulates in the blood, people may feel tired and generally weak and become less mentally alert. Loss of appetite and wheezing can result. Anemia also comes with fatigue and other generalized weakness.

The accumulation of these metabolic wastes causes the loss of appetite nausea vomiting and a bitter smell in the mouth. This leads to a deficiency of food and weight loss. Chronic kidney disease also reduces the body’s ability to fight infections.  

Severe renal insufficiency 

The severe renal insufficiency leads to the accumulation of high levels of metabolic waste in the blood. As a result, damage to muscles and nerves causes pain, cramps, spasms, and muscle weakness Encephalopathy, a malfunctioning brain condition, may occur, leading to confusion, lethargy, and seizures.

Heart failure can cause shortness of breath. Swelling may appear, particularly in the legs. Some people with chronic kidney disease complain of generalized itching. Their breath can also smell unpleasant.

Alteration in chemicals level

If the loss of normal kidney function reaches a certain level in chronic kidney disease, the ranks of the chemicals in the blood are typically altered.

  • Urea and creatinine, metabolic waste products generally filtered by the kidneys, increase.
  • The blood becomes moderately acidic.
  • The potassium level in the blood is often normal or only slightly increased, but it can become dangerously high.
  • The levels of calcium and calcitriol in the blood are reduced.
  • Levels of phosphate and parathyroid hormone rise.
  • Hemoglobin is typically lower than average, which indicates that the person has some degree of anemia.

Other Complications caused by chronic kidney disease

Urine concentration

If the loss of kidney function is mild or moderately severe, the kidneys cannot absorb urine to reduce its volume and concentrate it. This is why the skin could change color to a yellow-brown or the concentration of urea is too high that it forms crystals with sweat, creating the appearance of a clear powder that covers the surface of your skin. 


The kidneys then lose the ability to eliminate acids generally produced by the body, increasing the blood’s acidity, a condition called acidosis.


The production of red blood cells decreases and causes anemia.


Nerve cells in the brain, trunk, arms, and legs can be damaged by high quantities of metabolic waste in the blood. As a result, uric acid levels can rise, sometimes causing gout. Gout can cause arthritis accompanied by joint pain and swelling.


Kidneys affected by a disease produce certain hormones that cause blood pressure to rise. Besides, the kidneys are unable to eliminate sodium and excess water. Sodium and water retention can contribute to increased arterial hypertension and heart failure.


The envelope surrounding the heart (pericardium) can become inflamed, which is called pericarditis. Pericarditis may cause chest pain and hypotension in the patient. 


The level of triglycerides in the blood is often elevated, which, together with arterial hypertension, can increase the risk of atherosclerosis.

Restless legs syndrome

People may also feel a pins-and-needles sensation in the lower and upper limbs and may lose sensation in some areas of the body. Restless legs syndrome can arise.

Gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding

People with advanced chronic kidney disease usually have gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding. 

Renal Osteodystrophy

If conditions associated with chronic kidney disease persist for an extended period, the formation and maintenance of bone tissue may be compromised (renal osteodystrophy). 

These conditions include

  • A high level of parathyroid hormone
  • A low level of calcitriol (the active version of vitamin D) in blood
  • Reduced absorption of calcium 
  • The concentration of phosphates can be high in the blood
  • The pain of bones is accompanied by an elevated chance of breaking.

Prognosis of Chronic kidney disease

The rate of decline in kidney function depends on the preexisting disease that caused chronic kidney disease and how well the disorder is controlled.

  • Diabetes and high blood pressure, significantly if poorly controlled, cause the acceleration of the decline in kidney function. Chronic kidney disease is fatal if left untreated.
  • Survival in severe renal failure (sometimes referred to as end-stage renal failure) usually lasts for several months in untreated individuals, but those treated with dialysis can live much longer. However, people with end-stage renal disease die earlier than peers without end-stage renal disease, even with dialysis. Most die from heart or arterial disease or infections.

Treatment of complications caused by CKD

Chronic renal disease causes anemia, which is treated with

In addition, doctors also research and treat other causes of anemia, especially dietary deficiencies of iron, folate (folic acid), and vitamin B12. Most people taking erythropoietin or darbepoetin must regularly take intravenous iron to prevent an iron deficiency that compromises the body’s response to these drugs. Erythropoietin and darbepoetin should only be used as needed, as they can increase the risk of stroke. The bleeding tendency can be temporarily eliminated by transfusion of blood products or drugs such as desmopressin or estrogen. Such treatment may be needed after trauma or before surgery or tooth extraction.

  • Blood transfusions are done only if anemia is severe. Other causes and symptoms do not respond to erythropoietin or darbepoetin.
  • High blood pressure is treated with antihypertensive medications to prevent further impairment in cardiac and renal function.
  • Diuretics can also relieve symptoms of heart failure, even when kidney function is insufficient, but dialysis may be needed to remove excess fluid in severe chronic kidney disease.

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