End Stage Renal Disease - ESRD (Kidney Failure)
Kidney failure occurs when kidneys become unable to perform its function of filtering out the waste products from blood. Other major functions of kidneys are removing extra water from the body, helping in making red blood cells and helping in controlling blood pressure. Having kidney failure means a major part or most of your kidney is damaged.
Conditions that lead to kidney failure include:
- Physical injury
- High blood pressure
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Kidney stones
- Enlarged prostate
- Kidney infections
Earlier stages of kidney damage may not exhibit any symptoms. Kidney failure occurs gradually. Symptoms are usually exhibited in the late stages or at the end stage. Symptoms of end stage renal disease include:
- Tiredness and weakness
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle cramps
- Swelling in feet, ankles and legs
- Sleep problems
- Increased blood pressure
- Chest pain
Diagnosis of end stage renal disease or kidney failure is based on:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Family history
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Imaging tests such as MRI or CT
Preventive measures and methods to slow down the progression of the condition includes:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Lose weight, if needed
- Eat healthy and balanced diet
- Opt for a low-salt diet
- Control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Get regular checkups.
Treatment options for end stage renal disease includes dialysis and kidney transplant majorly.
- Dialysis is the process of filtering and purifying blood using a fluid (peritoneal dialysis) or a machine (hemodialysis).
- Kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which the damaged kidney is replaced with a healthy kidney from a donor.
- Supportive care or conservative care is a treatment method in which the health care team continues to treat or care without dialysis and kidney transplant. This can also be done after the above mentioned treatment procedures. It is required to manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life.
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