I don’t know if this letter will reach you or not. I have stage 5 kidney disease. I am 59. I’m still working full time and am not on dialysis. This was brought on by hypertension. I think it’s not only sad but unfortunate that there is no one out there in the world that can assist me about diet and what these labs mean. I’m not a stupid person. All that information out there on the net is confusing and since I am not a DaVita patient, there is no one. My doctor told me what books to buy, only more confusing. This only adds to my depression and struggles. If you read this thank you and please don’t tell me to go to another web site.

I am unable to make a specific diagnosis based on the information that you provide.  Stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) means that your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is less than 15 milliliters per minute per 1.73 meters squared, but it does not tell me why you have CKD.  I suggest that you visit with your nephrologist and determine what is your exact kidney diagnosis and what is the plan for dialysis, transplantation and treatment.  Since your eGFR is less than 20, you could be eligible to be evaluate for being listed on the kidney transplant list.  You should discuss your treatment options with your nephrologist and try to make a plan for what you need to do to prepare for dialysis and transplantation.  You have options available and you should be asking your nephrologist for a plan.

 

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, GFR, Nephrologist, Transplantation, Treatments

I have stage 4 kidney disease. I was told my a non-medical Doctor that I should be taking baking soda 1 tsp per day. Is this correct in order to reduce my acidic levels?

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can be used to treat patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), but should be used in doses that keep the bicarbonate level in the blood above 22 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).  The dose of baking soda should be recommended by your physician or your nephrologist.  You should not use an excessive amount because this can lead to other chemical problems in the blood such as low potassium levels and increases in the carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

For more information on CKD click here:

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Nephrologist, Treatments

I HAVE STAGE 3 CKD. IS IT SAFE FOR ME TO TAKE GABAPENTIN FOR NEUROPATHY? IF NOT, WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMMEND? I AM UNABLE TO SLEEP WITH THIS NERVE PAIN.

In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), gabapentin can be used for nerve pain, but the dose must be adjusted to the level of kidney function.  I suggest that you review your doses of gabapentin in light of your kidney function and you should review this with your physician.

 

 

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Laboratory Testing, Medication and Kidney Function, Treatments

My husband is 61 years old and until recently has been in good health, overweight but basically good health. For the past three months he has been having severe swelling in his lower extremities, lower legs and feet, he has been back and forth to the Doctor and put on several types of “water pills” most recent being Lasix 40 to 80 mg BID. At his last visit he was diagnosed with Acute Renal Failure he will be seeing a Nephrologist on 8/10/16 soonest appointment I could get. How serious is all this? What can I do as his wife to help him? He does not take care of himself and he has Bi-Polar disorder, so I have to try and keep him calm, I have not told him this is what the Doctor said it is. He has had kidney stones once years ago but no problems since. I was told this usually happens when there is a blockage somewhere? What tests should I ask to be done? Thank you in advance for your input, I appreciate it. Just as an FYI I am a Medical Assistant and have been in the medical field for over 30 years so I do understand medical terms, but I have always been in OBGYN or Pediatrics.

Acute renal failure (or usually said to be acute kidney injury) is a sudden decrease in kidney function that occurs unexpectedly and in a relatively short period of time.  I am unable to make a specific diagnosis based on the information that you provide.  Since he has been on Lasix (furosemide) and this is a diuretic, it may be that he is relatively dehydrated and this can be a cause of acute kidney injury.  I would recommend that urine chemistries be done and his urine should be tested for blood, protein and infection.  An ultrasound examination of the kidneys may be important to determine if he has a blockage of the kidneys that could be causing his acute kidney injury.  Further consultation with the nephrologist may be necessary in order to arrive at a specific diagnosis and this will lead to specific treatment of the acute kidney injury.

 

Posted in Acute Kidney Injury, Ask the Doctor, Blood/Urine Testing For Kidney Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Laboratory Testing, Medication and Kidney Disease, Medication and Kidney Function, Nephrologist, Symptoms and Side Effects, Treatments

Hello Dr, I just received my blood test results and am worried with my EFGR being at 60. My BUN is 17, CREATININE 0.7 and albumin 4.5. I’m 50 and obese, I do not have diabetes and am on blood pressure meds for about 7 years and have normal pressure. My mother was on dialysis due to diabetes and high blood pressure so Im nervous when it comes to the kidneys. I tried to research EFGR and I find that some say 60 is normal and some sites say it’s moderate kidney damage. Please advise.

The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is a number that is used to estimate kidney function.  An eGFR of 60 mil liters per minute per 1.73 meters squared is normal.  I do recommend that you also have urine testing for blood, protein and infection to look for any other kidney disease.  Since kidney disease is present in your family, you are at increased risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD).  I suggest that you discuss your concerns with your physician and ask for further evaluation to include urine testing.

 

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Blood/Urine Testing For Kidney Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetes, Dialysis, GFR, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Laboratory Testing, Serum Creatinine, Symptoms and Side Effects, Treatments

My doctor has had me do a blood test the last 4 times that I have been in. They have been checking my kidney function. It has gradually gone down. They have told me that as long as it is in between 6 – 23 that it is good. Mine is supposedly at 17. Am I getting the correct information on this or do I need to check further on this? I have looked up symptoms & currently am tired most of the time, I bruise very easily no matter the touch. I have gained a lot of weight & appear to be retaining water. I have checked with my mother and she has told me that there is no history of kidney failure in the family. Should I be concerned about this?

I am unable to make a specific diagnosis without performing a complete history and physical examination.  The numbers that you mention are unclear to me.  I do not know what these numbers may represent.  The symptoms that you mention could represent many different problems.  I suggest that you discuss your concerns with your physician and have a complete examination.

For more information on GFR click here:

For more information on CKD click here:

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Chronic Kidney Disease, GFR, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Laboratory Testing, Treatments

Hi Dr. Spry, Recently an MRI of my back for severe back pain showed a cyst on my left native (nonfunctioning) kidney. Upon further testing it was found to be an angiomyolipoma. ( sorry for the spelling error )I was told this was benign. My question is could this be causing my back pain, and more importantly, could this affect my perfectly functioning transplanted kidney?

An angiomyolipoma of the kidney is a benign condition and should not cause any pain or discomfort.  It can occasionally cause blood in the urine, but should not cause any other symptoms. It should not cause any problem with your kidney transplant.

 

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Kidney-Related Health Questions

My kidney transplant is 10 year old in August. I have been feeling tired and retaining water, itchy and my creatinine has been 1.9 last few months. Should I be concerned?

Your kidney transplant appears to have been damaged over the years, but I cannot make a specific diagnosis based on the information that you present.  I suggest that you consult with your nephrologist for a complete examination and discuss your concerns with the transplant team.

For more information on transplantation click here:

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney Failure, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Transplantation

I am a 65 year old male with PKD. My gfr is 25. I am taking blood pressure medication, synthroid for thyroid, have had two back surgeries L4-L5, so I take 325/10 oxycodone for back and kidney pain and Venlafaxin for depression. I get the itchiness in my arms and recently started having a breakout of pimple like sores on my neck. They have a clear fluid in them. They are really hard to try to heal them. Actually I haven’t been able to heal any but have been able to shrink some. I have had some for 5 or 6 weeks. I put Neosporin on them. Are they caused by my PKD? My regular Doctor says something needs to be done now or in two years I won’t need my kidneys anymore. My nephrologist says I am doing okay and to call him in October for another appointment. I’m confused and don’t know what to do. Please advise!

I am unaware of any aspect of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) that would cause sores on your neck.  I am unable to make a specific diagnosis without performing a complete history and physical examination.  I suggest that you continue to consult with your nephrologist and follow his or her advice.  PKD is not a reversible disease and cannot be cured.  Your nephrologist is best able to examine you and offer a diagnosis and treatment plan.

For more information on GFR click here:

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Chronic Kidney Disease, GFR, Hypertension/High Blood Pressure, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Laboratory Testing, Medication and Kidney Disease, Medication and Kidney Function, Symptoms and Side Effects, Treatments

I’m 37. I have a previous history of High Blood Pressure. I’m in remission from testicular cancer. Before cancer treatment my creatinine was 1.3. Cancer has made my left kidney a little smaller than my right kidney. I have renal atrophy in my smaller left kidney. And since treatment my creatinine has been as high as a 6. In February 2016 my creatinine was 3.5. In April 2016 my creatinine was 2.8. In July 2016 my creatinine is 3.1. My creatinine goes up and down. I’m looking for a way to control it and make my creatinine stable. What do I do?

I am unable to make a specific diagnosis based on the information that you provide.  Cancer treatments can damage the kidney, but I cannot make a specific diagnosis.  I suggest that you consult with your nephrologist and ask for a specific diagnosis of your kidney disease.  If kidney function has been permanently lost, you may not be able to recover full kidney function.  It is important to consult with your nephrologist and follow his or her advice.

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Blood/Urine Testing For Kidney Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney Cancer, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Nephrologist