Skip to Content

Chronic Kidney Disease, Ambulatory Care

Chronic kidney disease

is the gradual and permanent loss of kidney function. Normally, the kidneys turn fluid, chemicals, and waste from your blood into urine. When you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), your kidneys do not function properly. CKD may worsen over time and lead to kidney failure.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Changes in how often you need to urinate
  • Swelling in your arms, legs, or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Bad or bitter taste in your mouth
  • Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Heart is beating faster than normal for you
  • Confused and drowsiness
  • Seizure
  • Sudden chest pain or shortness of breath

Treatment for chronic kidney disease:

Medicines may be given to decrease blood pressure and get rid of extra fluid. You may also receive medicine to manage health conditions that may occur with CKD. Dialysis is a treatment to remove chemicals and waste from your blood when your kidneys can no longer do this. Surgery may be needed to create an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) in your arm or insert a catheter into your abdomen so that you can receive dialysis. A kidney transplant may be done if your CKD becomes severe.

Manage chronic kidney disease:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day, 4 to 7 times a week, or as directed. Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Regular exercise can help you manage CKD, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Follow your healthcare provider's advice about what to eat and drink. He may tell you to eat food low in sodium (salt), potassium, phosphorus, or protein. You may need to see a dietitian if you need help planning meals.
  • Limit alcohol. Ask how much alcohol is safe for you to drink. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking harms your kidneys. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information if you need help quitting.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need vaccines. Infections such as pneumonia, influenza, and hepatitis can be more harmful or more likely to occur when you have CKD. Vaccines reduce your risk of infection with these viruses.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.