Your kidneys are key to keeping your body healthy. However, most people don’t give their kidneys much thought — until they stop working properly.
The kidneys’ primary function is to remove waste and excess water from the body. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) interferes with this vital process by gradually reducing kidney function. As time goes on, someone with this terrible condition may become too sick to work anymore.
The National Kidney Foundation estimates that 26 million adults in the U.S. have CKD, with millions more at significant risk of developing it. The most common causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure. If the blood sugar of someone with diabetes gets too high, multiple organs can be damaged, including the kidneys. High blood pressure causes the blood to flow against your blood vessels with excessive force, which can also attack the kidneys.
As waste matter builds up in the blood, symptoms can include fatigue, trouble concentrating, lack of appetite and swelling in the feet and ankles. The disease can lead to anemia, nerve damage, high blood pressure, poor nutritional health and weak bones. Left unchecked, it can lead to kidney failure, forcing the patient to undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Having such a serious illness impacts your life in many ways. For one thing, it can force you to leave your job, at least temporarily, because you are too sick and exhausted. Without the assistance of Social Security Disability benefits, your financial picture could quickly turn quite bleak.