End-Stage Renal Disease

What is End-Stage Renal Disease?

End-stage renal disease (end-stage kidney disease) (ESRD) is the fifth and final stage of kidney failure. It occurs when kidney function is reduced to 15% or less. They are no longer capable of adequately filtering waste and extra water in the body. It is usually caused by uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure. Waste, fluids and electrolytes will reach life-threatening levels without treatment.

What are the Symptoms of End-Stage Renal Disease?

The symptoms of end-stage renal disease may be hard to recognize because they can point to countless other conditions.

Symptoms include

  • Queasiness
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Change in urine output
  • Mental fog
  • Muscle cramps
  • Involuntary muscle twitching
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Ongoing itchiness
  • Chest pain caused by fluid build-up in the heart sac (pericardial effusion)
  • Breathing difficulties caused by fluid in the lungs
  • Uncontrollable hypertension

End-Stage Renal Disease Causes

Renal disease can have a number of causes, but there are very specific causes that lead to end stage renal disease and prevent someone from surviving on their own. The most common reason someone suffers from end-stage renal disease is a chronic disease which eventually leads to these symptoms. Diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are often associated with end-stage renal disease. These diseases force the kidneys to filter out incredible amounts of impurities until they simply can’t function. While chronic disease may be a common factor, there are genetic influences as well. Not everyone has the same genes and this can seriously affect the way that we process toxins Some of us are designed in such a way that we’re able to easily process toxins and our kidneys can do so without any health problems. The hereditary factors involved in end-stage renal disease may account for up to 40% of variance.

How is End-Stage Renal Disease Treated?

Treatment options for end-stage renal disease are limited. It is treated with lifelong in-home or professional dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Changes that can help maintain a positive outlook and slow progression may include

  • Dietary changes to reduce sodium intake and excess weight
  • Blood sugar control
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Cessation of all tobacco product use
  • Regular physical activity
  • Emotional support

When a kidney transplant is an option, the donated kidney can come from a compatible living or deceased donor. Medications are administered to help prevent infection and rejection of the new kidney. Dialysis is no longer required if the new kidney can properly filter the blood.

End-Stage Renal Disease Prevention

The best way to prevent end stage renal disease is healthy living. It is a largely preventable disease with most research showing diet and drinking habits playing a central role. Persons who avoid binge drinking and other activities known to promote renal disease are likely to avoid the condition. In terms of diet, the diet must be structured in such a way to avoid unnecessary consumption of proteins or of sweets. These will put extra stress on the kidneys and prevent them from functioning properly. Genetics certainly plays a role too, but the methods to prevent the genetic influences involved in renal disease are to be handled in a different manner. Particularly, one of the most important ways to fight against end-stage renal disease is genetic screening. This will help parents understand what sort of risks might be involved in the baby’s future. It may also identify developing kidney problems before they take hold.