Explore key symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

Learn how Mediclinic Renal Services provides advanced kidney care in South Africa, emphasising the importance of early detection and management strategies for those at risk, including lifestyle adjustments and potential treatments for advanced stages.

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Look out for these possible red flags:

• Elevated blood pressure (hypertension).

• Swelling of the ankles and lower legs.

• Progressive fatigue and weakness.

• Nausea and vomiting.

• Loss of appetite.

• Chest pain and shortness of breath.

People living with uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, or those with a family history of CKD, are most at risk. Other risk factors include being over age 60, substance abuse, and acute kidney injury. The risk of CKD has also been shown to be greater in people of African descent.

How the disease develops

CKD develops in five stages as kidney function worsens. “The different disease processes that affect the kidneys have different ways of causing injury to the kidneys,” explains Dr Flooks. “But the end result is nephron (kidney cell) loss – damage to the kidney structure that can eventually result in deteriorating renal function.” This can ultimately lead to Stage 5 CKD.

While CKD is generally irreversible, Stage 5 CKD can be kept in check with the right monitoring and treatment.

Mediclinic Renal Services is a relatively new service, with clinics situated in the heart of local communities throughout South Africa. Our standalone clinics offer a new and innovative standard of value-based kidney care.

Monitoring & treatment

Healthcare providers always aim to slow the progression of renal disease through the following methods, says Dr Flooks:

• Monitoring increased protein excretion in the urine and treating it with medication and dietary measures.

• Controlling blood pressure.

• Restricting salt intake.

• Controlling uric acid levels.

• Avoiding the use of nephrotoxins (a drug, chemical or toxic agent that can inhibit, damage or destroy the cells and/or tissues of the kidneys).

• Controlling elevated phosphate levels in the blood.
• Managing blood glucose levels should always be between 3.9 – 6.7mmol/L

Patients facing Stage 5 CKD will need to either undergo renal replacement therapy through dialysis (a treatment that purifies the blood) or have a kidney transplant. “Kidney transplantation is the treatment of choice for many people with end-stage kidney disease,” explains Dr Flooks. “While the surgery carries a risk of complications, a successful kidney transplant can improve your quality of life, eliminate the need for dialysis and reduce your risk of dying.”


While CKD diagnosis often only happens once the disease has progressed, people living with diabetes mellitus or hypertension – the leading causes of renal failure – should have regular blood or urine tests to screen for CKD. “You can protect your kidneys by preventing or managing those health conditions that cause kidney damage,” explains Dr Flooks. General advice for preventing kidney disease includes:

• Choosing foods that are healthy for your heart and your entire body, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

• Cutting back on salt and added sugars.

• Exercising regularly and aim for a healthy weight.

• Limiting alcohol intake

• Not smoking.

• Getting enough sleep.

While kidney disease cannot be reversed, it can be managed. The experts at Mediclinic Renal Services clinics are on standby to assist those suffering from the effects of chronic kidney disease, with world-class dialysis equipment and a wealth of experience in monitoring and managing this complex condition.

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