How Is Kidney Failure Diagnosed
Doctors use a variety of tests to measure kidney function and diagnose kidney failure. If your doctors suspect you may be at risk for kidney failure, they may recommend:
- Blood tests, which can show how well the kidneys are removing waste from the blood.
- Advanced imaging, which can show kidney abnormalities or obstructions .
- Urine tests, which measure the amount of urine or specific substances in the urine, such as protein or blood.
Fatigue Being Tired All Of The Time
Why this happens:
Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin , or EPO, that tells your body to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less EPO. With fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen, your muscles and brain tire very quickly. This is anemia, and it can be treated.
What patients said:
I was constantly exhausted and didn’t have any pep or anything.
I would sleep a lot. I’d come home from work and get right in that bed.
Blood Tests For Kidney Disease
The best measure of kidney function is the glomerular filtration rate , which can be estimated from a blood test that checks the blood for creatinine .
A normal GFR result is higher than 90 mL/min/1.73 m2. If the result is persistently less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 for at least three months, this confirms that the person has chronic kidney disease.
Blood tests can reveal other abnormalities of kidney function, such as:
- high levels of acids
- high levels of potassium
- low levels of salt
- changes to the levels of calcium and phosphate.
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What Is Kidney Disease
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that act as your bodys waste filtration system. They filter your blood 12 times per hour. Excess water and unwanted chemicals or waste in the blood are disposed of as urine .
Kidney disease is when your kidneys are damaged in some way and are not filtering your blood effectively.
Ok So How Do I Make Sure I Never Get A Uti Or A Kidney Infection
As they say, prevention is the best cure! And there are many things you can do to ensure that youre reducing your risk for an infection, and preventing build up from occurring in the kidneys.
Practice good hygiene. Always wipe from front to back, keep your genital area clean, wash before and after sex. Basically, do your best to keep bacteria from even having a chance of getting into the urinary system in the first place.
Drink lots of water. If youre dehydrated, youre not only increasing your chance of a UTI, but youre also decreasing your urine output, meaning that more minerals have a chance to build up and settle in the urinary tract or kidneys.
Make sure to urinate whenever you feel you have to go. Dont hold it in. This concentrates the urine allowing bacteria to build up and spread.
Alter your diet if you find youre prone to kidney stones. Cut down on certain meats and shellfish and opting instead for more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid consuming too much sugar. Cut back on sodium, and eat more oxalate-rich foods .
And if you do start experiencing any of the symptoms above, be sure to see a doctor right away. UTIs, kidney infections, and kidney stones can usually be treated fairly easily, but its important to seek medical attention before any complications develop.
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Swollen Or Puffy Face
Why this happens:
Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the face.
What patients said:
My sister, her hair started to fall out, she was losing weight, but her face was really puffy, you know, and everything like that, before she found out what was going on with her.
My checks were always puffy and tight. Sometimes they would even hurt.
How Can I Prevent Ckd
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, working with your doctor to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure under control is the best way to prevent kidney disease.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease, or help keep them under control. Follow these tips to lower your risk for kidney disease and the problems that cause it:
- Follow a low-salt, low-fat diet
- Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days of the week
- Have regular check-ups with your doctor
- Do not smoke or use tobacco
- Limit alcohol
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Imaging Tests For Kidney Disease
Tests that create various pictures or images may include:
- x-rays to check the size of the kidneys and look for kidney stones
- cystogram a bladder x-ray
- voiding cystourethrogram where the bladder is x-rayed before and after urination
- ultrasound sound waves are bounced off the kidneys to create a picture. Ultrasound may be used to check the size of the kidneys. Kidney stones and blood vessel blockages may be visible on ultrasound
- computed tomography x-rays and digital computer technology are used to create an image of the urinary tract, including the kidneys
- magnetic resonance imaging a strong magnetic field and radio waves are used to create a three-dimensional image of the urinary tract, including the kidneys.
- radionuclide scan.
How Serious Is A Uti
Urinary tract infections can be painful and uncomfortable, but they ultimately donât pose a serious threat to your health as long as you seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Read on to learn more about when urinary tract infections turn into kidney infections, the differences between the two, and what you can do to properly treat and prevent them.
Read: Get UTI Treatment Online
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Treatments For Urinary And Kidney Infections
Kidney infections always require antibiotics. Donât rely on home remedies alone to take care of kidney infections.
Usually, doctors will prescribe empiric antibiotics to cover all the potential bacteria that could have caused the infection until they can target the specific bacteria based on test results. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for at least a full week.
Normally, you wonât require a stay at a hospital for a kidney infection as long as you can move around and consistently keep down oral antibiotics.
However, if you exhibit severe symptoms or cannot keep down the medication due to nausea and vomiting, you may be hospitalized so that your doctor may administer antibiotics and fluids intravenously.
If the kidney infection progresses enough to create an abscess in the kidney, you may require more serious treatment. Abscesses cannot be cured with antibiotics alone. In order to drain them, doctors will perform a nephrostomy, which involves placing a tube through your back, into the kidney.
So Now Is The Time To Pamper Your Kidneys
If youre experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should see your health practitioner and have a check-up, including tests to assess your kidney function.
And you should also make sure youre helping your kidneys stay in top shape by doing a thorough cleanse.
Even if you dont have any of these signs, a systemic cleanse is like a spa day for your kidneys. It helps them get in top shape and avoid damage and disease. This is why OsteoCleanse, The 7 Day Bone Building Accelerator was developed in conjunction with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
OsteoCleanse is not just about alkalizing your body, feeling younger and more energized, and removing osteoporosis drugs from your system. It does all of these things in just seven days, but at the heart of OsteoCleanses effectiveness are its kidney-boosting, liver-cleansing effects so youll strengthen and build your bones faster.
Its always a good idea to heed early warning signs and treat your kidneys to a cleanse before damage occurs, and its particularly important to offset the effects of aging on your renal system.
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Shortness Of Breath After Very Little Effort
Why this happens:
Being short of breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.
What patients said:
At the times when I get the shortness of breath, it’s alarming to me. It just fears me. I think maybe I might fall or something so I usually go sit down for awhile.
I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t catch my breath, like I was drowning or something. And, the bloating, can’t breathe, can’t walk anywhere. It was bad.
When To Get Medical Advice
See your GP if you have persistent or worrying symptoms that you think could be caused by kidney disease.
The symptoms of kidney disease can be caused by many less serious conditions, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis.
If you do have CKD, it’s best to get it diagnosed as soon as possible. Kidney disease can be diagnosed by having blood and urine tests.
Find out more about how CKD is diagnosed.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2019 Next review due: 29 August 2022
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Treating Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease
When the treatments for chronic kidney disease are no longer effective, the only options are long-term dialysis and kidney transplantation. Both options decrease symptoms and prolong life. If the person is a candidate, kidney transplantation can be an excellent option. For people who choose not to undergo dialysis, end-of-life care is important.
Feeling Tired Or Sluggish During The Day
Everyone has a day when they feel tired maybe you didnt get enough sleep, or ate the wrong foods, or some other temporary factors are at play. But sometimes, fatigue is caused by lack of a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. The main function of EPO is to stimulate the production of red blood cells, and red blood cells carry energizing oxygen to cells throughout your body.
Stressed kidneys do not produce enough EPO, thereby reducing the number of red blood cells and making you feel weak and tired out.
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How Does Diabetes Cause Damage To My Kidneys
Diabetes can harm the kidneys by causing damage to:
- Blood vessels inside your kidneys. The filtering units of the kidney are filled with tiny blood vessels. Over time, high sugar levels in the blood can cause these vessels to become narrow and clogged. Without enough blood, the kidneys become damaged and albumin passes through these filters and ends up in the urine where it should not be.
- Nerves in your body. Diabetes can also cause damage to the nerves in your body. Nerves carry messages between your brain and all other parts of your body, including your bladder. They let your brain know when your bladder is full. But if the nerves of the bladder are damaged, you may not be able to feel when your bladder is full. The pressure from a full bladder can damage your kidneys.
- Urinary tract. If urine stays in your bladder for a long time, you may get a urinary tract infection. This is because of bacteria. Bacteria are tiny organisms like germs that can cause disease. They grow rapidly in urine with a high sugar level. Most often these infections affect the bladder, but they can sometimes spread to the kidneys.
Symptoms Of Chronic Kidney Disease
Most people with CKD have no symptoms because the body can tolerate even a large reduction in kidney function.
In other words, we are born with a lot more kidney function than is necessary for survival. Kidney function is often sufficient if only one kidney is working. That is why people can give a kidney to someone needing a kidney transplant.
A change in kidney function is usually discovered through a routine blood or urine test. If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, your kidney function will be monitored with regular blood and urine tests, and treatment aims to keep any symptoms to a minimum.
If the kidneys continue to lose function and there is progression towards kidney failure , this will usually be tracked by blood tests and monitoring. If kidney failure does occur, the symptoms may include:
- weight loss and poor appetite
- swollen ankles, feet or hands
- shortness of breath
- blood or protein in your urine
- an increased need to urinate, particularly at night
- erectile dysfunction in men
These are general symptoms and can be caused by many less serious conditions. Many of the symptoms above can be avoided if treatment begins at an early stage, before any symptoms appear.
If you are worried by any of the symptoms above, arrange to see your GP.
Want to know more?
- National Kidney Federation: Symptoms and Problems
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Treatment For Kidney Failure Transplant Or Dialysis
Many people with kidney failure can continue with treatment using medicines and will have good-functioning kidneys for the rest of their lives.
In a few people, kidney disease will progress to the stage where the kidneys stop working and it becomes life threatening. This is called kidney failure or established renal failure .
This rarely happens suddenly, and there will be time to plan the next stage of your condition. The decision whether to have dialysis, a kidney transplant or supportive treatment should be discussed with your healthcare team.
Read more about dialysis and kidney transplants.
What Health Problems Can People With Kidney Disease Develop
Kidney disease can lead to other health problems. Your health care team will work with you to help you avoid or manage:
High blood pressure. High blood pressure can be both a cause and a result of kidney disease. High blood pressure damages your kidneys, and damaged kidneys dont work as well to help control your blood pressure. With kidney failure, your kidneys cant get rid of extra water. Taking in too much water can cause swelling, raise your blood pressure, and make your heart work harder.
Blood pressure-lowering medicines, limiting sodium and fluids in your diet, staying physically active, managing stress, and quitting smoking can help you control your blood pressure.
Heart disease. Kidney disease and heart disease share two of the same main causes: diabetes and high blood pressure. People with kidney disease are at high risk for heart disease, and people with heart disease are at high risk for kidney disease.
Anemia. When kidneys are damaged, they dont make enough erythropoietin , a hormone that helps make red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to other parts of your body. When you have anemia, some organssuch as your brain and heartmay get less oxygen than they need and may not function as well as they should. Anemia can make you feel weak and lack energy.
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Feeling Faint Dizzy Or Weak
Why this happens:
Anemia related to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to feeling faint, dizzy, or weak.
What patients said:
I was always tired and dizzy.
It got to the point, like, I used to be at work, and all of the sudden I’d start getting dizzy. So I was thinking maybe it was my blood pressure or else diabetes was going bad. That’s what was on my mind.
Medications For High Blood Pressure
One of the main ways to reduce the progression of kidney damage is to manage high blood pressure. Good control of blood pressure is vital to protect the kidneys.
People with CKD should aim to get their blood pressure down to below 140/90mmHg but if you also have diabetes you should aim to get it down to below 130/80mmHg.
There are many types of blood pressure drugs. Medicines called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors are used to control high blood pressure in people with CKD.
As well as reducing blood pressure around the body and reducing the strain on blood vessels, ACE inhibitors give additional protection to the kidney.
ACE inhibitors include:
Side effects of ACE inhibitors include:
- a persistent, dry cough
- tiredness or weakness
Most of these side effects should pass within a few days, although some people continue to have a dry cough.
If the side effects of ACE inhibitors are particularly troublesome, you can be given an alternative medication called an angiotensin-II receptor blocker . This group of medicines includes:
The side effects of ARBs are uncommon, but can include dizziness.
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Treating Chronic Kidney Disease
There is no cure for chronic kidney disease, although treatment can slow or halt the progression of the disease and can prevent other serious conditions developing.
People with CKD are known to have an increased risk of a heart attack because of changes that occur to the circulation.
In a minority of people, CKD may cause kidney failure, also known as established renal failure or end-stage kidney disease. In this situation, the usual functions of the kidney stop working.
To survive, people with ERF may need to have artificial kidney treatment, called dialysis, or a kidney transplant.
Read more about living with chronic kidney disease
Who Will Be On My Health Care Team
Youll have a whole team of trained health care providers to help you live well with kidney failure. The following people may be part of your health care team:
Nephrologist. A doctor who specializes in kidney health and oversees your treatment.
Dialysis nurse. A dialysis nurse will monitor your in-center dialysis and will see you monthly if youre doing home or peritoneal dialysis. The nurse will make sure youre taking your medicines correctly and help you find ways to lessen the side effects of dialysis. If you do home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, your dialysis nurse will teach you how to set up your treatment, take care of the equipment, and watch for infections or other problems.
Transplant coordinator. A specially trained nurse who will be your point of contact, arrange your appointments, and teach you what to do before and after the transplant.
Renal dietitian. A renal dietitian is trained to help people with kidney failure. Your dietitian will help you make choices about what to eat and drink to help your treatment work better so youll feel better.
Social worker. Dialysis clinics and transplant centers have a social worker who works with people who have ESRD. Your renal social worker can help you find answers to problems such as
- keeping a job or changing jobs
- getting help paying for treatments
- finding services to help with transportation or chores around the house
- finding counseling services to deal with family problems
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