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"My experience with Polycystic Kidney Disease"
Your kidneys are a vital organ in your body, much like the heart or lungs. You need kidney function in order to survive. Your kidneys:
View the Kidney Foundation's website for more information on understanding kidney function.
As Ontario’s population continues to grow and age, and the prevalence of diabetes and vascular disease increases, the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is also projected to increase. Kidney disease affects more than 40,000 people and their families in Canada.
Chronic Kidney Disease
A diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) means the kidneys have not been working properly to eliminate wastes and excess fluids from the body for at least 3 months. Often, this is caused by diseases that attack and damage the kidneys' filters (nephrons). CKD can progress for as short as several months to as long as 25–50 years. Hypertension is a risk factor for progression of existing chronic kidney disease.
Who is at risk for chronic kidney disease?
What causes CKD?
CKD is caused by many different disease processes. Some involve only the kidney, while some involve the kidney as part of another systemic disease. CKD also can result from an obstruction or injury, and from drugs, such as cancer chemotherapies, anti-rejection drugs, and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.
Primary Kidney Diseases
"In the beginning I had a lot of signs and symptoms"
"I didn’t have any signs or symptoms"
There are many symptoms that people may experience when their kidneys are not working properly. If you experience some of these symptoms, it is important to share this information with your Nephrologist and interprofessional team. You are the best provider of information on how you are feeling. Some people choose to keep a journal at home to track the different symptoms they experience between CKD clinic visits, as it can sometimes be difficult to remember how you were feeling two months ago, as compared to today. Please be aware that not every person with CKD experiences every symptom on this list, some people tell their nephrologist they are not experiencing any symptoms
People often ask, in CKD clinic visits, ‘what symptoms will I experience that will let me know it is time for me to start Dialysis?’ Once again, this is unique to each individual. People often tell us they feel like they have a stomach flu that just won’t go away – such as no energy, no appetite, nausea or vomiting after eating, shortness of breath. If you find that you are experiencing these symptoms please contact your Nephrologist to arrange to be seen by him or her.