Kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), means your kidneys are not working well enough for you to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant. Kidney failure is the last stage of chronic kidney disease.
Kidney failure together with other kidney issues are more common than we think. That’s because most of the kidney disease symptoms remain unnoticed until it is sometimes too late to do something and a kidney transplant surgery is deemed necessary. Moreover, many people do not have a clear idea of what is kidney failure and what causes kidney failure and other types of kidney disease.
This article aims at shedding some light upon kidney disorders and hopefully, increasing the awareness surrounding kidney issues.
What Are the Signs of Kidney Problems?
There are several symptoms of kidney problems easy to spot when we know what to look for. Someone with kidney failure will have a few symptoms of the disease usually, although sometimes none are present. First and foremost – changes in urine and urination are often signs of kidney problems. These include foamy urine, change in its color or the frequency of urination. Additionally, swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet and the feeling of tiredness and weakness are always counted among kidney disease symptoms. Yet another sign of ongoing kidney issue are problems with concentration, shortness of breath and pain or pressure in your chest. Finally, bad breath, changes in taste, skin rash and seizures may be the symptoms of kidney problems.
If you experience more than one of those sings of kidney problem, you shall definitely visit a doctor and ask for a proper diagnosis before your renal disease reaches its late stages and a kidney transplant surgery becomes inevitable.
At least 50 percent of the patient population is older adults with a wide range of kidney diseases. There has been a steady increase in the percentage of elderly patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) over the years.
What Is Kidney Failure?
Kidneys have an important job of filtering your blood. Kidney failure is the situation when your kidneys are unable to clean your blood waste. So, what happens at this stage? This waste starts to accumulate in your body, leading to health- and life-threatening complications.
We can differentiate between acute and chronic kidney failure. Acute kidney failure means that renal failure occurs quickly and leads to serious complications suddenly, while chronic kidney failure means a slow development of renal disease which reduces the function of kidneys over time.
Kidney failure may be treatable, especially in the early kidney disease stages. For this reason, we shall remain vigilant when it comes to kidney disease symptoms.
What Causes Kidney Failure?
Renal failure may be caused by external and internal factors. External causes of kidney failure belong to traumas and accidents. Diabetes is accepted as the most common internal cause of renal failure. The second most common cause of ESRD is high blood pressure. Other causes of kidney failure may include:
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and IgA nephropathy
- Genetic diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Urinary tract problems
Kidney issues slowly develop into kidney failure, looking out for the signs of kidney problems may help prevent a full-scale renal failure.
Kidney Failure Stages
Chronic kidney diseases have five stages, which are determined by doctors in order to prepare the most effective treatment. In stage 1, there is mild kidney damage, and usually, no symptoms observed. In stage 2, there are no symptoms as well, but it is important to consult your doctor about how to prevent your kidney from getting worse. Stage 3 kidney disease means the kidneys are moderately damaged and they do not work well enough. Stage 4 kidney disease should be considered and monitored very seriously as it is the last stage before kidney failure. Stage 5 kidney disease means the kidneys are almost failed or already completely failed. Stage 5 kidney disease has severe symptoms as the kidneys usually stop working.
What Is Kidney Transplant?
People with kidney failure may need to have a kidney transplant especially in cases of acute kidney failure or late chronic kidney failure stages. During kidney transplant surgery, a healthy kidney from a donor is transplanted into your body. The new kidney does the function that your two kidneys used to do. The donated kidney can be removed from someone who has recently died (deceased donor), or from a living person who is usually a relative, spouse, or friend of yours. Due to the shortage of kidneys, patients on the waiting list for a deceased donor kidney may wait for years.
A kidney transplant surgery is a promise of dialyze-free life for patients with kidney disorders who do not respond to conservative treatments. Every year, thousands of patients undergo this kind of kidney operation and from then on enjoy good kidney health and quality life.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.