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Detecting Chronic Kidney Disease

Noninvasive Procedures for Early CKD Detection

JUNE 11, 2024: Identifying the signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD) as well as managing and detecting them in their earlier stages will remain vital in delaying progression together with its relative complications.

After all, CKD always starts silently, and awareness among those who may have it is low, compounded by the fact that CKD is usually undetected until in its later stages. Hence, detection and screening strategies as well as intervention in the early stages will be important in reducing the progression and burden of CKD.


Top Causes

CKD happens when certain diseases or conditions impair kidney functions, causing damage that will likely worsen over several months or years. These include: 

  • Type-1/Type 2 diabetes 

  • High-blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (CVD) 

  • Prolonged obstruction of urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones and some cancers 

  • Polycystic kidney disease or other inherited kidney diseases 

  • Inflammation of the glomeruli or kidney tiny filtering units (glomerulonephritis

  • Inflammation of the kidney tubules and surrounding structures (interstitial nephritis

  • Recurrent kidney infection (pyelonephritis

  • Vesicoureteral reflux, a condition that causes urine to go back up to the kidneys

In the case of glomerulonephritis, it can either occur suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic), even occurring on its own, or as part of another disease such as lupus or diabetes. Cases of severe or prolonged inflammation such as glomerulonephritis can damage the kidneys.

Although glomerulonephritis had been the most common cause of chronic renal failure, recently however, cases of diabetes mellitus as well as hypertension have become the leading causes of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), together now accounting for almost six out of 10 dialysis patients.

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) earlier revealed that ESRD was already at least the 7th leading cause of death among Filipinos. NKTI added that at least one Filipino may be developing chronic renal failure primarily every hour, or about 120 Filipinos per million population per year.

The institute revealed that an average of more than 5,000 Filipino patients have been recently undergoing dialysis, while approximately 1.1 million people worldwide are already on renal replacement therapy.


Risk Factors

CKD has become a global public health problem, with the exponential growth of Type-2 diabetes mellitus and other risk factors. Aside from diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, among the factors that can increase risks of CKD are: 

  • Smoking 

  • Obesity 

  • Family history of kidney disease 

  • Abnormal kidney structure 

  • Older age 

  • Frequent use of medications that can damage the kidneys

Since high blood pressure, diabetes and acute kidney injuries have been among the top common causes of CKD, medical experts have highlighted the common symptoms which may include: 

  • fatigue 

  • nausea and vomiting 

  • swelling and brain fog, and 

  • observable changes in constantly urinating

Knowing the five stages of CKD will help patients determine how well their kidneys are functioning, since kidney disease can get worse over time. Within the early stages (1-3), the kidneys may still be able to filter waste out of the blood.

But in the later stages (4-5), the kidneys must work harder to filter the blood but then may stop working altogether. Hence, the goal at each stage of detecting and treating CKD is slowing down the damage to the kidneys and keeping them working as long as possible.

After all, advanced or late-stage CKD may likely cause dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes to build up in a human body, affecting the way kidneys normally filter wastes and excess fluids from the blood. As the disease renders kidneys not to work properly and begin to lose their normal function, CKD may worsen over time.


Staying Proactive

According to a Q3 2023 Lancet study on gaps and challenges in providing treatment for patients with ESRD in the Philippines, there is a prevalence of 35.94% which is much higher than estimated global CKD rates, with prevalence between 9.1% and 13.4% of the population worldwide.

The 2023 Lancet study stressed the need for early detection and treatment such as via ultrasound equipment, with the growing burden of spending costs in the later stages of the disease. In the Philippines, according to the study, 94% of ESRD patients have been undergoing center-based hemodialysis (HD) treatment, while 4% are on peritoneal dialysis (PD) and only 2% had kidney transplantation (KT).

Despite KT being the gold standard treatment for ESRD, the Lancet study added that most Filipino patients still preferred HD due to transplant costs and low organ donations, as well as lack of capable infrastructures and long-term immunosuppression therapy.

Delaying Progression

As CKD progression to renal replacement therapy (RRT) increases both in incidence and prevalence worldwide, early management will be critical in delaying RRT progression and its related complications.

With cardiovascular diseases becoming a leading cause of CKD morbidity and mortality, the need to assess and detect cardiovascular risks must be part of several interventions to delay progressive loss of renal function and/or reduce development. Early detection and treatment as well as preventing the gradual loss of proper kidney function will address chronic kidney failure.

For its part, NKTI said the cost of medical treatment for kidney disease has been usually beyond the reach of many ordinary Filipinos, adding that renal transplantation is limited not only to the expense but also to the shortage of kidney donors.

This is where the combination of early detection and treatment comes in with the latest in medical technology and equipment. NKTI said the best remedy is to focus related efforts on preventing the progression of renal diseases, and adopting strict blood pressure and glycemic control, as well as a healthy lifestyle.


Ultrasound + Other Treatment

Procedures that clinicians usually perform to evaluate the kidneys include computed tomography (CT-scan) and kidney scan, as well as antegrade pyelogram, intravenous pyelogram and kidney angiogram, and, of course, the standard ultrasound.

A kidney ultrasound gives healthcare providers with the right set of information about the health of a patient’s kidneys, helping healthcare experts in diagnosing renal diseases and conditions. Using sound waves to create an image or render pictures of a human kidney and bladder, a kidney or renal ultrasound can help diagnose:  a) cysts, b) tumors, c) stones or d) infection.

A kidney ultrasound, therefore, is: 

  • safe 

  • painless, and 

  • noninvasive

Equipment Solutions

As one of the leading diagnostic medical imaging equipment distributors in the country, Himex Corporation offers high-quality equipment systems that cater, among others, to the needs of addressing the monitoring, detection and treatment of both acute and chronic renal conditions.

Himex Corp. has pioneered the joint-venture business model for imaging machines, as well as fostered partnerships with over 20 hospitals and served over 2 million patients, with over three decades of experience and expertise in medical machine imagery. To know more about our equipment solutions in MRI, CT-scan, X-ray and ultrasound machines, send us a message through our social media accounts.




Himex Corporation is one of the leading diagnostic medical imaging equipment distributors in the Philippines.

With 35 years of experience in the import, sales and after-sales of MRI, CT-scan, X-ray, and Ultrasound machines, Himex offers high-quality brand-new and pre-owned systems. And with over 1,200 installations at over 700 hospitals nationwide, Himex possesses unparalleled experience in sales and after-sales services.

Himex has also pioneered the joint-venture business model for imaging machines and have fostered partnerships with over 20 hospitals, serving over 2 million patients, answering the need of the community for quality-assured innovations and technological expertise in the field of medical instrumentation.


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