Patient Care

Chronic Kidney Disease

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

CKD is a gradual loss of your kidneys' filtering ability, usually due to high blood pressure or diabetes. When kidney function is seriously impaired, dangerously high levels of fluid and waste can accumulate in your body.

The early stages of CKD may only present a few signs or symptoms. Many people with CKD do not realise they have a problem until their kidney function has decreased to less than 15% of normal when they may have symptoms.

The main goal of treatment of CKD is to halt or delay progression of the disease, usually by controlling the underlying cause. CKD can progress to end-stage kidney disease, which can be fatal if not treated with artificial filtering (dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What are the signs & symptoms of CKD?

Signs and symptoms may include any of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased urine output or no urine output
  • Darkly coloured urine
  • Anaemia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight change
  • A general sense of discomfort and unease (malaise)
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles
  • Yellowish-brown cast to your skin
  • Persistent itching

CKD can be difficult for you or your doctor to detect initially. Signs and symptoms are often non-specific, meaning they can also be attributed to other illnesses. In addition, because your kidneys are highly adaptable and able to compensate for lost function, signs and symptoms of chronic kidney failure may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred.

If you have a chronic medical condition that puts you at increased risk of CKD, your doctor is likely to monitor your blood pressure and kidney function with urine and blood tests during regularly scheduled office/clinic visits.

Call your doctor if you experience any of the signs and symptoms of CKD between visits. These may include a change in urination patterns or quantity, dark or cola-coloured urine, unexplained weight loss, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, or a yellowish-brown cast to your skin. Even if you have no risk factors for kidney failure, see your doctor immediately if you notice that you are urinating much more or much less than usual or if you see any blood in your urine.

What are the treatment options for CKD ?
General Nephrology

Patients are evaluated through the use of laboratory tests, radiographic and ultrasound scans, and where appropriate, real-time-ultrasound guided kidney biopsies. Patients are also provided medical and dietary therapy to slow progression of kidney disease, and those with worsening kidney function are counselled on the treatment options.

Chronic Haemodialysis

Patients with end-stage kidney failure who opt for long-term haemodialysis should receive comprehensive treatment including dietary counselling, hypertension control, evaluation and management of cardiac risk factors, anaemia and renal bone disease. High Dependency haemodialysis for patients with high cardiovascular risk and often deemed unsuitable for haemodialysis in Singapore.

Kidney Transplant

Kidney transplantation is an important form of treatment for kidney failure and can be performed for suitable patients even without embarking on dialysis (pre-emptive transplant).

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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  • Condition name 'Chronic Kidney Disease' AND
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National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
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  • Alexandra Hospital
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