Chronic Kidney Disease : Medical Treatment

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease. The four goals of therapy are to:

  1. slow the progression of disease;
  1. treat underlying causes and contributing factors;
  1. treat complications of disease; and
  1. replace lost kidney function.
Strategies for slowing progression and treating conditions underlying chronic kidney disease include the following:
  • Control of blood glucose: Maintaining good control of diabetes is critical. People with diabetes who do not control their blood glucose have a much higher risk of all complications of diabetes, including chronic kidney disease.

  • Control of high blood pressure: This also slows progression of chronic kidney disease. It is recommended to keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg if you have kidney disease. It is often useful to monitor blood pressure at home. Blood pressure medications known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) have special benefit in protecting the kidneys.

  • Diet: Diet control is essential to slowing progression of chronic kidney disease and should be done in close consultation with your health care practitioner and a dietitian. For some general guidelines, see the Self-Care at Home section of this article.
The complications of chronic kidney disease may require medical treatment.

  • Fluid retention can be treated with any of a number of diuretic medications, which remove excess water from the body. However, these drugs are not suitable for all patients.

  • Anemia can be treated with erythropoiesis stimulating agents such as erythropoietin or darbepoetin (Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free, Aranesp SureClick). Erythropoiesis stimulating agents are a group of drugs that replace the deficiency of erythropoietin, which is normally produced by healthy kidneys. Often, patients treated with such drugs require iron supplements by mouth or sometimes even intravenously.

  • Bone disease develops in kidney disease due to an inability to excrete phosphorus and a failure to form activated Vitamin D. In such circumstances, your physician may prescribe drugs binding phosphorus in the gut, and may prescribe active forms of vitamin D.

  • Acidosis may develop with kidney disease. The acidosis may cause breakdown of proteins, inflammation, and bone disease. If the acidosis is significant, your doctor may use drugs such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to correct the problem.

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