Differences between Chronic Kidney Disease CKD and Chronic Renal Failure CRF

Chronic kidney disease and chronic kidney failure are not the same, how do they differ?

For some patients, both concepts mean the same thing, but they are not the same. A Baxter RCS expert tells us what each one of them means.

When chronic kidney disease (CKD) is diagnosed, several questions begin to arise from patients: what is the treatment to follow? What changes will I have to make in my habits? and so many other questions that arise as this pathology is known. Precisely, one of the most common doubts has to do with chronic kidney disease and chronic kidney failure. For some of the patients, the two concepts refer to the same thing, but the truth is another. To clarify all kinds of questions, Doctor Óscar Rocha, nephrologist of Baxter RCS, tells us how it differs from each other, and other important details that patients should know.

What is chronic kidney disease (CKD) and what is chronic renal failure (CRF)?

Chronic kidney disease is defined as a pathology with a duration longer than three months, in which the ability of the kidneys to eliminate toxins from the blood is decreased. We also refer to Chronic kidney disease when there are alterations in the renal structure, found in images of the kidneys, in biopsies and in other renal images; in the same way, Chronic kidney disease is known by the disruption of other renal functions such as loss of proteins in the urine and alterations in urine partials. Patients who have been transplanted are also considered patients with chronic kidney disease.

The loss of Kidney’s ability to eliminate toxins in chronic kidney disease ranges from a mild degree to a severe degree. When this commitment is severe and the function of the kidneys should be replaced by dialysis or by renal transplantation, we refer to Chronic renal failure.

We have to mention that the name of Chronic renal failure has been discontinued, being replaced by other terms such as chronic renal disease state 5 or end-stage renal failure.

How do lifestyle and habits change for a person who is diagnosed with CKD? How do they change when CRF is reached?

Life habits change when a patient is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. The goal of these lifestyle and patient management changes is to try to slow the progression of kidney damage to further delay or prevent the onset of dialysis, as well as avoid complications associated with CKD.

Some of the lifestyle changes are:

1. Decrease the amount of salt consumed in the diet.

2. Exercise regularly, at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes.

3. Depending on the degree of chronic kidney disease it is recommended to decrease the amount of certain elements in the diet: potassium, phosphorus, calcium, proteins in the blood. Also, avoid unhealthy foods.

4. Have proper control of blood pressure as well as sugar in diabetic patients.

5. No smoking.

6. Do not self-medicate and always confirm with your health team before starting any medication. Avoid those drugs that may affect the functioning of the kidneys.

What are the symptoms that can occur when a patient has CKD? Do they get worse when CRF is diagnosed?

Chronic kidney disease is a pathology that in initial and intermediate states may not generate any symptoms. However, among the symptoms it can produce are inflammation of the eyelids, legs or the whole body, alterations in the urinary pattern such as urination at night, decrease in urinary volume, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite (initially to meat and subsequently to all foods), fatigue, loss of energy and drowsiness.

All of these symptoms are more marked the less the kidneys function, so they are more accentuated in chronic renal failure.

What happens when a patient is diagnosed with chronic renal failure? What are the steps to follow and the treatments to be performed?

When the patient is diagnosed with chronic renal failure it means that his kidneys are no longer able to remove enough toxins from the blood, so he needs to start dialysis or have a kidney transplant. At this time the most preferable thing is that the patient is already in a follow-up by nephrology or by a health program to manage a programmed manner of the dialysis admission or the renal transplant; also, they have to build in advance the access for hemodialysis with an arteriovenous fistula preferably. And if the patient decides to start peritoneal dialysis, the peritoneal catheter should be implanted on time.

What other health problems can people with CKD and CRF develop?

Chronic kidney disease and chronic renal failure generate multiple health problems, including:

1. Increased problems of blood vessels that carry blood to different organs of the body, this can be manifested with heart attacks, cerebral infarctions and problems with legs circulation.

2. Anemia: Caused by a lack of production of a substance by the kidney called erythropoietin and other mechanisms that alter red blood cells.

3. Increase in potassium: a situation that generates cardiac arrhythmias which can be very serious.

4. Bone alterations: which means that patients have a greater fragility in their bones.

5. Alterations in the acid base state of the blood.