How Bad is Renal Failure?

October 22, 2018

How Bad is Renal Failure?

Renal failure is a serious medical condition that can be life-threatening.

Your kidneys are essential for life. Kidneys perform the important task of balancing fluids and removing toxins from your blood. Together, your kidneys filter about 150 quarts of blood each day and produce 1 to 2 quarts of urine, according to the National Institutes of Health. Without kidneys, these toxins and fluids would build up, which would prevent other organs from functioning properly.

Most people are born with two kidneys. These fist-sized, bean-shaped organs are located on each side of the spine, just below your ribcage. Blood flows into each kidney through a renal artery, which branches into smaller and smaller blood vessels until it reaches the minuscule blood vessels that filter out toxins and fluid. Filtered blood then flows out of the kidney and back into your body via the renal vein.

Kidney disease can cause kidneys to function poorly, which means they do not do a good job of filtering toxins and getting rid of excess fluids from the blood. Kidney disease can continue for a long time to become chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease is common, affecting about 10 percent of the world’s population, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

About Chronic Kidney Disease and Renal Failure

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and low blood pressure, can cause chronic kidney disease and renal failure.

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition, which means it gets worse over time. In other words, the kidneys become increasingly unable to filter toxins and fluids from the bloodstream. Renal failure is the final stage of chronic kidney disease, so doctors refer to renal failure as end-stage renal disease.

Renal failure is a serious condition where your kidneys stop working well enough to sustain life. There is no cure for renal failure. The only treatments for renal failure are kidney transplant and dialysis. It can take months or even years for a donor’s kidney to become available, so most people with renal failure go on dialysis.

Dialysis is a procedure in which a machine filters the patient’s blood and removes excess fluids. Most people have to go on dialysis when their kidney function drops down to 10 or 15 percent of its original function. The procedure does all of the important jobs normally performed by your kidneys. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis requires trips to the dialysis center about three times a week to receive treatments that typically last for about 4 hours. Peritoneal dialysis can be done at home 4 to 7 times each week, but each treatment is shorter.

A kidney transplant is the superior treatment, as patients no longer need dialysis. The average waiting time for an available kidney is 3 to 5 years.

Renal failure is serious because, without treatment, toxins and fluids build up in the body to cause major problems with your organs and tissues. Renal failure is also challenging because treatment can take valuable time each week.

For more information on the seriousness of renal failure, talk with your doctor or renal specialist.

Can You Go on Dialysis Temporarily?

October 10, 2018

Can You Go on Dialysis Temporarily?

When your kidneys are not working properly, your doctor may recommend you start dialysis treatment. Learn more about why this treatment is needed and whether it is something that is temporary or something you will need for the rest of your life.

What Does Dialysis Do?

Kidneys are responsible for helping the body naturally remove excess water, toxins, and wastes from the blood. If excessive water, toxins, and wastes are not removed from your blood, it causes them to build up and eventually cause life-threatening problems ranging from organ failure, coma, or even death.

Healthy kidneys are able to eliminate all these excessive toxins and wastes from the blood naturally. However, if damage occurs to the kidneys, either from an illness or injury, the body is unable to filter these toxins out. That is why dialysis is needed. This type of treatment will remove the toxins and wastes from the blood when the kidneys can no longer naturally do it.

There are three different dialysis treatment options available to patients. Those options include:

  • Intermittent hemodialysis
  • Continuous renal replacement therapies
  • Peritoneal dialysis

The type of treatment that is used will depend upon why it is needed, the patient’s comfort levels, personal situation, and current health, and cost.

How Long Do You Need to Undergo Dialysis?

How long you will need to undergo treatment will depend upon why it is needed. In some situations where the kidneys are only temporarily damaged, dialysis may not be needed long-term and you will only need to undergo this type of treatment for a limited time. However, in situations where the kidneys are permanently damaged, treatment will be needed on a more long-term basis.

Temporary dialysis may be recommended in the following situations:

  • Development of an acute kidney condition that causes the kidneys to stop working properly
  • Consuming toxic substances
  • Overdosing on drugs
  • Experiencing a traumatic kidney injury
  • Complications from chronic heart disease have developed and need to be relieved

Treatment is often only needed it until the kidneys improve in health. The length of time this type of treatment is needed will vary and can range from several weeks to several months.

When is Dialysis Needed Long Term?

Dialysis is needed long-term when it is being used for chronic kidney failure. This type of treatment allows a person with chronic kidney failure to continue to enjoy life without developing life-threatening problems.

If a person with chronic kidney failure undergoes an organ transplant, he or she may not need this type of treatment anymore. However, that depends upon the success of the transplant procedure.

Have questions about dialysis? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Lauer at Associates in Nephrology. Dr. Lauer specializes in the treatment of kidney disease and administering dialysis. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

How Long can You Live on Kidney Dialysis?

September 17, 2018

How Long Can You Live on Kidney Dialysis?

Once a patient has developed end-stage kidney failure there is only one treatment option available –dialysis. This treatment option isn’t a cure but it does extend the life expectancy of any patient diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure.

What is the Life Expectancy of a Patient on Dialysis?

It is difficult to determine the how long a person can live once they start treatment for end-stage kidney failure because so many different factors influence life expectancy. Everything from the severity of the kidney disease and other health problems to how well a patient follows a treatment plan determines the life expectancy of an individual undergoing this type of treatment.

Even with all the varying factors, on average a person can live 5 to 10 years when seeking treatment for end-stage kidney failure. There are some patients who have lived longer on dialysis. These patients have had their life expectancy extended 20 or even 30 years by undergoing regular treatment for end-stage kidney failure.

Do Patients have an Option to Undergo Dialysis?

Yes, all patients with end-stage kidney failure have a say in their treatment. However, end-stage kidney failure is only diagnosed when the kidneys have lost 85% or more of their function. When the kidneys lose so much of their function, dialysis treatment is the only option available that will help a patient stay alive.

Failing to undergo this type of end-stage kidney failure treatment can be fatal. Without treatment patients often only live several weeks once end-stage kidney failure is diagnosed.

What is the Purpose of Dialysis and Does it Cure Kidney Disease?

The entire purpose of kidney dialysis is to take care of essential bodily functions that are unable to be performed because the kidneys no longer properly function. This treatment option does everything that healthy kidneys do including removing extra water, salt and waste from the body, maintaining safe levels of important chemicals – like potassium and bicarbonate – in the body, and controlling blood pressure.

Some people may have heard of people who underwent kidney dialysis and then no longer needed it. This makes people believe that this treatment is a cure for end-stage kidney failure, but it isn’t a cure.

When dialysis is used to treat acute kidney failure that may be caused by a sudden illness or accident, it may only be temporary. It is temporary because the kidneys have not been permanently damaged and only need this specific treatment to help them heal. However, if it is being used to treat or manage chronic or end-stage kidney failure, it is permanent and patients will need to undergo this treatment for the rest of their life.

If you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, especially end-stage kidney failure, call Associates in Nephrology to schedule an appointment to learn about your treatment options. Our doctor, Dr. Lauer, can help you explore treatment options that will help you manage and control your kidney disease.

What is the Best Thing to Drink for Your Kidneys?

September 6, 2018

What is the Best Thing to Drink for Your Kidneys?

Your kidneys love fluids. In fact, your kidneys work day and night regulating the fluids in your body. Your kidneys work best when they have just the right amount of fluid to work with.

Between 70 and 80 percent of your body weight is water, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Your kidneys are in charge of keeping the right amount of water in your body, and for keeping those fluids free from toxins.

About Your Kidneys

You have two kidneys, one on each side of your back, just below your ribcage. These bean-shaped organs remove excess fluids from your bloodstream and filter out toxins. Regulating fluids in this way helps regulate

Water helps your kidneys remove waste from your blood. Your body excretes these wastes and excess fluids in the form of urine that travels to your bladder before leaving your body. Water also helps keep your arteries open so that your blood can flow freely to your kidneys. This blood delivers oxygen and nutrients that help your kidneys function. Dehydration makes it more difficult for this delivery system to work.

Mild dehydration can impair normal bodily functions, including your kidneys. Severe dehydration can actually lead to kidney damage. Drinking fluids is the best way to avoid dehydration, especially when you work or exercise especially hard or in warm or humid weather.

People with diabetes, kidney disease or other illnesses that affect the kidneys need to take in adequate amounts of fluid to keep their kidneys performing well. People with low blood pressure need to take in plenty of fluids to maintain kidney health, for example. Your kidneys act like filters to remove toxins from your body. To push blood through the filters, though, the blood has to be moving with force; in cases of low blood pressure, there is not enough pressure to force the blood through the tiny filters of the kidneys.

But what is the best thing for you to drink for your kidneys?

Countdown of the Top 3 Drinks for Kidney Health

3. Lemon- or lime-based citrus juice

These juices are naturally high in citrate, which can prevent kidney stones.

2. Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice can prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) because it contains compounds that prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract wall. While most UTIs stay in the bladder, they can travel to the kidneys to cause kidney infections.

1. Water

Water is the best thing to drink for kidney health because it gives your kidneys the fluids they need to function well, without sugar, caffeine, or other additives that do not benefit your kidneys.

Drink four to six glasses of water every day for optimal kidney health. People with renal failure have to be conscious of the amount of fluids that they take in every day. If you have renal failure, which is a condition in which your kidneys have stopped working well enough to support life, your doctor will tell you how much fluid you should consume.

For more information about fluids and kidney health, consult with a kidney specialist or nephrologist. The more you know, the better you can treat your kidneys!

How Can You Tell if Your Kidneys are not Working Properly?

August 13, 2018

How Can You Tell if Your Kidneys are not Working Properly?

Your kidneys perform an incredible amount of work each day. They filter about 180 liters of fluid each day to produce 2 liters of urine. Your kidneys filter toxins from your bloodstream and take away excess fluids. They also play a role in keeping your blood pressure within normal limits, in making red blood cells, and even producing vitamin D.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, situated just below your ribcage on your back. Each kidney is about 4” to 5” long, about the size of a fist or a cell phone. The kidneys filter blood and produce urine that flows down tubes, known as ureters, to store in your bladder until the next time you urinate.

Kidneys can fail, which means they do not work properly. Doctors refer to this as kidney failure or renal failure.

Many health conditions can increase the risk of renal failure. Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Low blood pressure can damage your kidneys and lead to kidney problems.

There are three main types of kidney failure – acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal failure. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a condition in which your kidneys quit working suddenly, over the course of a few hours or days, as the result of low blood pressure after an accident or other serious health crisis.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term problem that gets worse over time. CKD can lead to kidney failure. Prolonged use of alcohol or pain relievers can cause kidney disease, as an infection, inflammation of blood vessels in the kidneys, kidney stones, and cysts.

End-stage renal failure (ESRF) is a condition in which your kidneys quit working altogether and they can no longer support life.

Signs of Renal Failure

People with chronic kidney disease often do not experience symptoms when their CKD is in its earliest stages. In fact, symptoms do not usually appear until the damage associated with kidney disease has reached an advanced stage.

When signs of CKD appear, they may include:

  • Itching
  • Swelling in your feet or ankles
  • Muscle cramps and twitches
  • Too much urine or not enough urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping

Acute kidney injury can cause signs that include:

  • Fever
  • Nosebleeds
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Belly pain
  • Diarrhea

Having these signs does not necessarily mean that your kidneys are not working. For more information, contact Associates in Nephrology. Our vein doctor in Taunton, MA, and Brockton, MA specializes in kidney disease, nephrology, and dialysis.

« Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 21, »