End stage kidney failure

End stage kidney failure

Chronic kidney disease often progresses from early stage (partial) to end stage (complete) failure. There is no cure for end-stage renal failure (ESRF) also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The damage done to the kidneys is irreversible. Treatment at the end stage of kidney failure involves replacing the lost functions of your kidneys by dialysis or by a kidney transplant.

There are two kinds of dialysis treatment, haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Dialysis patients:

  • manage their fluid balance by restricting what they drink
  • manage the substances such as calcium and other nutrients that their bodies have to deal with by watching their renal diet
  • are tested to monitor the effectiveness of their dialysis

Transplantation is another treatment option. You will learn about the tests used for determining if a patient is suitable for receiving a transplant, and for monitoring a transplant.

Dialysis patients are monitored and/or treated by the medical team in a renal center.

Convenient summaries are provided of:

End stage kidney failure

If you have been recently diagnosed with kidney failure, this section will help you understand your situation:

  • What to expect next
  • What happens at a renal center (where you will have your future appointments)
  • All about the different tests you might be given.

As well as discussing the practical aspects of your care, we take a look at how you may be feeling in initial reactions, and discuss some different approaches which may help you come to terms with your diagnosis and how it makes you feel. You may dread telling people about your illness - our sections on telling family and friends and on telling employers will help you prepare for these important discussions.

The treatments available for kidney failure have advanced dramatically over the last 10 years. While there is still no absolute cure, the quality of life and flexibility of lifestyle patients can look forward to now far exceeds what was possible a generation ago. The treatment of kidney failure section looks at the different types of dialysis and transplant available to replace the function of your kidneys. We also look at the treatments you may be prescribed that deal with some of the sideeffects of kidney failure anaemia, high blood pressure and renal bone disease.

If you have recently been diagnosed with kidney failure, it is normal to feel shocked and overwhelmed by what is happening to you and what lies ahead. At this stage you may have a period of years before your kidney function becomes inadequate, or you may need dialysis in the near future.

You may not have noticed the symptoms of your illness because they may have developed very gradually. Once patients start treatment, however, most of them realize how poorly they had been feeling, because of the noticeable improvements once treatment starts.

Dialysis and transplant patients can find practical tips on dealing with daily life, travel, and exercise in the Coping and living section of the site.

May 1, 2006

Next: Telling people   

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