Two arms are shown itching their skin.

How Chronic Kidney Disease Has Impacted My Skin

Last updated: December 2023

How ya’ll doing? So, I've been living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) for some time now as you may know, and let me tell you, it's not just about kidney problems anymore. One thing that I have noticed is that my skin has also been impacted by this condition.

It might sound quite scary to you all, but it is what it is. Although it does not affect everyone in the same way. I am sharing my skin experience with you all now.

How CKD has impacted my skin

If you have CKD, you might have experienced some changes in your skin as well. For me, one of the most annoying things has been the constant itching. It's like my skin is on fire. And the worst part is that scratching only makes it worse.

I've read that this itching is caused by a buildup of phosphates in the blood, which leads to dry and irritated skin. So, if you're experiencing this, know that you have company.

Along with this itching and the undeniable urge to scratch, I've also noticed that my skin has become somewhat pale. My doctor said this anemia is where the kidneys don't produce enough of a hormone called erythropoietin.

Bruises and rashes

Another thing that I have had to deal with is bruises. And not just the occasional bump or scrape, but lots of them. My doctor said I am prone to bruising and bleeding because the kidneys produce less of a hormone that helps my blood clot properly.

It's been frustrating to have to deal with these bruises, especially since they take forever to heal. Going out with such bruises is another task that I have to get used to.

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Lastly, I've also experienced rashes. These can be a real pain, both physically and mentally. Sometimes I get blisters on the skin. This has been a real challenge, but I've learned to manage it with the help of my healthcare team.

Taking care of my skin with CKD

I follow the treatment plan that my doctor gives me. How do you manage your skin problems? Well, it's important to take care of your overall health first and foremost. That means managing your CKD with the help of your healthcare team, making dietary changes, taking medications as prescribed, and monitoring your blood pressure and blood sugar levels on a regular basis. This is very important, and I can’t emphasize it enough on this.

My advice is taking care of your skin and using topical treatments can help alleviate itching and prevent further skin irritation. I've found that using mild, fragrance-free soaps, moisturizing regularly, and avoiding scratching has been really helpful. Although it’s tough, I have to take this bitter pill and stop my hands from going to scratch.

Itching, skin color changes, bruises, and rashes are all common skin problems associated with CKD. It is important to talk to your doctor if you're experiencing any of these symptoms to discuss possible treatment options and ways to manage your symptoms. Remember, taking care of your overall health is very important to fight chronic kidney disease.

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In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

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