Sherrock said she has to constantly drink water to flush her kidneys out and support her bodily functions.
What is kidney disease?
According to the NHS, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term condition whereby the kidneys don’t work as well as they should.
“It’s a common condition often associated with getting older. It can affect anyone, but it’s more common in people who are black or of south Asian origin,” explains the health body.
CKD can get worse over time and eventually the kidneys may stop working altogether, but this is uncommon, it says.
How do I know if I have it?
According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of CKD develop over time if kidney damage progresses slowly.
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sleep problems
- Changes in how much you urinate
- Decreased mental sharpness
- Muscle twitches and cramps
- Swelling of feet and ankles
- Persistent itching
- Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
- Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
- High blood pressure (hypertension) that’s difficult to control.
“Signs and symptoms of kidney disease are often nonspecific, meaning they can also be caused by other illnesses,” notes Mayo Clinic.
It adds: “Because your kidneys are highly adaptable and able to compensate for lost function, signs and symptoms may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred.”
How to treat chronic kidney disease
There’s no cure for CKD, but treatment can help relieve the symptoms and stop it getting worse.
According to the NHS, your treatment will depend on the stage of your CKD.
The main treatments are:
- Lifestyle changes – to help you stay as healthy as possible
- Medicine – to control associated problems, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Dialysis – treatment to replicate some of the kidney’s functions, which may be necessary in advanced (stage 5) CKD
- Kidney transplant – this may also be necessary in advanced (stage five) CKD.
The following lifestyle measures are usually recommended for people with kidney disease:
- Stop smoking if you smoke
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Restrict your salt intake to less than six grams a day – that’s around one teaspoon
- Do regular exercise – aim to do at least 150 minutes a week
- Manage your alcohol intake so you drink no more than the recommended limit of 14 units of alcohol a week
- Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
- Avoid over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, except when advised to by a medical professional – these medicines can harm your kidneys if you have kidney disease.