Inflammation in Chronic Kidney Disease: Prevention and Management


Apr 3, 2023

Inflammation in Chronic Kidney Disease: Prevention and Management

Inflammation and Chronic Kidney Disease: Understanding the Connection and Prevention


Inflammation is a natural immune response that occurs when the body's white blood cells and immune-fighting chemicals work together to protect against harmful substances like bacteria, viruses, and injuries. Acute inflammation occurs for a short period of time, while chronic inflammation lasts longer and may never go away. People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) often experience chronic inflammation, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and even an increased rate of death.

Causes of Inflammation in People with CKD

Inflammation in people with CKD can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor nutrition, dialysis vascular access infection, gum disease, foot ulcers, anemia, uremia, or a transplanted kidney that no longer works. Other causes of inflammation that can affect people with or without CKD include infections that linger, toxins, pollutants, insomnia, lack of exercise, and obesity.

Symptoms of Inflammation and Detection

Symptoms of acute inflammation can resemble flu-like symptoms, including redness, fever, chills, swollen joints, fatigue, muscle stiffness, loss of appetite, and headaches. People with CKD may not experience all these symptoms and may have additional problems such as anemia, anorexia, muscle wasting, and weakness. To detect chronic inflammation, doctors often look at lab results.

Malnutrition, Inflammation, and CKD

There is a connection between malnutrition and chronic inflammation in people with kidney disease. Eating problems may occur frequently, especially for those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and on dialysis. This can lead to a condition called protein-energy malnutrition (PEM). Doctors and dietitians check the albumin level to help evaluate the degree of PEM.

Prevention and Treatment of Inflammation and CKD

Preventing and treating inflammation in people with CKD typically involves a healthy, kidney-friendly diet that includes adequate calorie and protein intake and foods rich in antioxidants. High-quality protein sources and antioxidant-rich foods can help treat inflammation. Eating fish two to three times a week also helps treat inflammation due to the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids.

The kidney diet regulates potassium, phosphorus, and sodium intake and includes enough protein to prevent malnutrition. A kidney diet consisting of a variety of the foods listed above may help treat inflammation.

Medicines may also be prescribed to treat inflammation, but always consult your doctor before taking any medication. NSAIDs are not usually recommended for people with kidney disease unless prescribed by their kidney doctor. Hemodialysis patients with catheters for their dialysis access have a higher risk of inflammation, so a fistula or graft is recommended to improve health and lower inflammation risk.

Additional considerations in treating chronic inflammation include adequate dialysis to remove toxins from the blood, correction of anemia and vitamin D deficiency, increased exercise, and weight loss for obese individuals, as obesity is known to increase CRP and cytokines, leading to inflammation.

Related Articles

What Do Your Kidneys Do?

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Protein and the Renal Hemodialysis Diet

Sodium and the Renal Hemodialysis Diet

Phosphorus and the Renal Hemodialysis Diet

Potassium and the Renal Hemodialysis Diet


Inflammation and Chronic Kidney Disease

About the Author

Rich Foreman brings over 30 years of technology leadership to his role of CEO and Co-Founder of KidneySoft.  As founding CTO, Rich led the team that developed the CordicoShield / CordicoFire Wellness App. Cordico was honored with the Sacramento Innovation Award in 2021. After achieving a 7 digit ARR, Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020. Rich has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, an MPA from Troy State University and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Rich co-authored his book, "Tap into the Mobile Economy." Rich's blog was listed in Top 20 Marketing Mobile Blogs of 2014. He has been featured on KCRA3, NEWS10, 1170 Tech AM PowerDrive, Business Radio Money 105.5, SiliconIndia, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the Sacramento Bee. Rich is also the Founding Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind and served a term as Utility Commissioner for the City of Folsom. Rich is a regular contributor to and StartupSac. Rich was the Co-founder of Apptology which was named Small Business of the Year in 2014 by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber. He was also the Founding Chief Technology Officer at Cordico. Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020.  Rich also served 4 years as a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.

Patient Education Disclaimer

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or health care professional. KidneyLuv makes every effort to provide information that is accurate and timely, but makes no guarantee in this regard. You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, your physician or health care professional.

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