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Kidney Disease

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Kidney disease is one of the most common chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that has serious long-term consequences and necessitates extensive treatment and care. This article will explain kidney disease and how to properly detect and treat it in order to stabilize its conditions and improve your overall quality of life.

What is kidney disease?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located just below the rib cage on either side of the spine and linked by renal arteries. The kidneys’ primary function is to filter wastes such as urea and uric acid, toxins and metabolic products, and excess water from the blood and convert them into urine, which is then expelled. The kidney also performs reabsorption, which is the absorption of glucose, amino acids, and electrolytes back into the bloodstream.


Other functions of the kidneys include the regulation of red blood cell production via the hormone erythropoietin, the regulation of blood pressure via the hormone renin, and the regulation of acid-base and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphate in the blood.

We call it nephropathy or kidney disease when the kidneys fail to filter waste and extra water, causing them to accumulate in the blood. Also, disrupt the process of red blood cell production and regulations of acid-base and electrolytes. Nephropathy or kidney disease can be chronic and often progressive, which means the malfunctions can worsen over time and the damage to the kidney itself can become permanent.

What indicates kidney disease?

The early stage of kidney disease is difficult to detect because kidneys have a greater capacity to do their job than is required to keep us healthy. You can, for example, donate one kidney while remaining healthy. As a result, symptoms associated with kidney diseases are more likely to occur in mid- to late-stage kidney disease, and these include:

  • chest pain
  • dry skin
  • itching or numbness
  • feeling tired
  • headaches
  • increased or decreased urination
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea
  • shortness of breath
  • sleep problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Anemia, bone disease, and malnutrition can all occur in some patients. Patients with advanced or end-stage kidney failure frequently experience edema, or swelling in their legs, feet, or ankles caused by excess fluid and electrolytes that the kidney is unable to drain. Kidney disease also increases the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and experiencing sudden changes in kidney function, also known as Acute Kidney Injuries (AKI).

If you are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, or if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure. You should see your doctor because you are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease, and early treatment can help you maintain the condition of your kidneys.

Physicians would diagnose patients at risk of kidney disease by questioning them about their health history and using laboratory diagnostics such as the blood test for measuring glomerular filtration rate or GFR, which should be greater than 60, and the test for albumin in the urine, which should be less than 30mg/g to be considered as healthy kidney.

Acute and chronic kidney disease, How is it different?

There are two types of kidney disease

Acute Kidney Disease, or a sudden and often temporary decline in kidney function, is often caused by factors such as physical injuries, dehydration, infections, medications, or a sudden drop in blood flow to the kidneys. Acute kidney disease can sometimes be reversible with immediate medical intervention.


Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is long-term kidney regression and usually progresses slowly over time. It can result from various underlying conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, polycystic kidney disease, or glomerulonephritis. Chronic Kidney Disease is divided into five stages according to the glomerular filtration rate 


  • Stage 1 (GFR > 90 mL/min): Kidney damage with normal or high GFR. In this stage, there may be slight kidney damage, but the kidneys are still functioning effectively.
  • Stage 2 (GFR 60-89 mL/min): Kidney damage with mild decrease in GFR. There is mild impairment of kidney function at this stage.
  • Stage 3 (GFR 30-59 mL/min): Kidney damage with a moderate decrease in GFR. This stage is further divided into 3A (GFR 45-59 mL/min) and 3B (GFR 30-44 mL/min) based on the severity of kidney function decline.
  • Stage 4 (GFR 15-29 mL/min): Kidney damage with a severe decrease in GFR. At this stage, the kidneys are significantly impaired, and medical intervention is necessary to prevent further complications.
  • Stage 5 (GFR < 15 mL/min): Kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The kidneys are no longer able to function properly, and constant hemodialysis or kidney transplantation becomes necessary for survival.

Dealing with kidney disease

The treatment for kidney disease depends on the underlying cause, the stage of the disease, and individual patient factors, with some common treatment approaches including:

  • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help control the progression of kidney disease. This includes a balanced diet with reduced sodium, potassium, and phosphorus intake, regular exercise, smoking cessation, and limited alcohol consumption.
  • Medications: Medications may be prescribed to manage the underlying condition causing kidney disease. Most medications are used either for controlling blood pressure, controlling blood glucose, or lowering cholesterol. Some patients may further require a medicine that lowers the amount of protein in the urine and a medicine that increases the level of the hormone erythropoietin.
  • Hemodialysis: For individuals with moderate to advanced-stage of kidney disease, hemodialysis or a medical procedure that artificially removes waste and excess fluids from the blood is a necessary need as the kidneys can no longer perform this function adequately. There are two types of dialysis: machine hemodialysis, which uses a machine to filter blood, and peritoneal hemodialysis, which uses the lining of the abdomen to filter blood.
  • Kidney Transplantation: For end-stage renal disease, kidney transplantation is considered the most effective treatment option. A healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor is surgically transplanted into the patient’s body, restoring kidney function. However, organ availability and suitability for transplantation are limiting factors.

Dealing with kidney disease at Phyathai 1 International

Phyathai 1 International is highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of various levels of kidney disease from the early stage of kidney degradation through the end-stage renal disease with multiple side complications with our in-house specialists in nephrology. Nephrology and Hemodialysis Centers also offer hemodialysis services using the latest machines and trained professionals, and kidney transplant operations with a well-received success rate by our teams of combined specialists.

If you are currently concerned about your kidney conditions, or you are a patient with kidney disease who requires continuous treatment while staying in Thailand, we recommend consulting with our specialist at Nephrology and Hemodialysis Center which is open daily from 6 am to 8 pm. We recommend making a reservation in advance via phone at number (+66)2-201-4600 ext.3201or e-mail us at [email protected] 

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