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Is Kidney Failure Considered A Terminal Illness

How Is Chronic Kidney Disease Treated

Kidney (Renal) Disease Signs & Symptoms (ex. Peripheral Edema, Fatigue, Itchiness)

Kidney disease is generally treated with medications. The more severe the impairment, the more likely that the treatment may require filtering the blood through dialysis or ultimately a kidney transplant. Chronic kidney disease can be caused by other conditions such as type 1 or 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

There are five stages to chronic kidney disease. A blood test, called eGFR, measures how well the kidneys are filtering waste from the blood. The stage of kidney disease is based upon the eGFR number. Stage 1 kidney disease has mild kidney damage. The eGFR at this stage is greater than 90, with generally no symptoms of the disease. Stage 2 is again mild damage to the kidney however, the eGFR number is between 60 and 89. The kidneys are working well and you may not have any symptoms at this stage. Really, you simply have a test indicating the kidneys are not working, but no real other symptoms. At this stage, you should be treated with a nephrologist who will prescribe medications and monitor the progression of the disease.

Suffering from chronic kidney disease is a very serious condition that, if not monitored and treated, could lead to kidney failure ultimately resulting in death. The first two stages are accompanied by mild impairment and likely no symptoms. But if your condition has progressed into the third stage or beyond, your condition is likely severe and you should consider applying for disability benefits.

Hospice Care Can Come To The Home

Patients who wish it can receive hospice care while living at home. There is also the option to move to an assisted living or long term care facility and receive hospice care there. For patients whose symptoms have advanced beyond the point where home hospice care is feasible, inpatient 24/7 care may be recommended for a period of time.

Causes Of Kidney Failure

Some of the causes of kidney failure include:

  • diabetes even if it is well managed, diabetes can cause kidney damage
  • glomerulonephritis swelling or inflammation of the tiny filtering units in the kidney. Also known as nephritis
  • polycystic kidney disease an inherited condition that causes thousands of cysts to form in the kidneys
  • urinary reflux a bladder-valve problem that allows urine to flow back into the kidneys, causing scarring
  • medications some drugs such as lithium and cyclosporin can cause kidney failure. Continued misuse of compound analgesic preparations was once a common cause of permanent kidney damage. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , taken in normal therapeutic doses, may occasionally cause acute kidney failure
  • medullary cystic kidney disease an inherited kidney disease that leads to the kidneys gradually losing their ability to work properly due to cysts in the centre of the kidneys.

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  • Ask The Patient About Their Priorities And Concerns

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    Sometimes loved ones are so shy to talk with the patient that asking about future goals can really come as a relief. You could ask your loved one what they hope for, what they are afraid of, what kind of care they want, what environment is most preferable, and other questions to determine whether hospice would be the best fit.

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    Stay Active And Engaged

    Having fun and staying socially connectedas much as possibleis essential for enhancing your quality of life. Regardless of whether you’re getting treatments or just managing your symptoms, staying engaged in life’s daily activities will help you feel like you still matter. A lot of seniors with terminal illnesses go about this by:

    • Writing letters or making videos for their friends and family
    • Attending social gatherings
    • Finishing creative projects

    Incidentally, you can get travel insurance if you have terminal cancer or another terminal illness. However, under most policies, you generally can’t make a claim for anything that is a direct result of your condition. For instance, you may not be covered for any costs arising from being treated or hospitalized for your terminal illness when traveling.

    On another note, it can be useful to maintain a daily diary of your pain and other symptoms. That way, you and your doctors will be able to more accurately assess how quickly or slowly your illness is progressing. The practice of keeping a diary may also help you stay more mindful of the present moment and less inclined to look too far ahead.

    How Long Can I Live After My Kidneys Fail

    When your kidneys fail, they cannot get better. Your life expectancy depends on many things, including your age. However, treatment can help people with kidney failure live for many more years:

    • Dialysis helps people live for another five to 10 years on average.
    • Living kidney donor transplants last 15 to 20 years on average.

    If you choose not to get treatment for kidney failure, you can get medical management. This is supportive care and treatment to relieve your symptoms, but it will not keep you alive. There is no way to know how long you will live if you choose medical management. Your doctor will help you stay as healthy as possible.

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    For Families Speaking To Patients

    Educate yourself first. Being well-informed is the key to having an effective discussion with your loved one about a topic as sensitive as hospice. We encourage you to read and share “Considering Hospice: A Discussion Guide for Families” at

    Ask permission. Asking permission to discuss a difficult topic assures a family member with kidney disease that you will respect and honor his or her wishes. Say something like, I would like to talk about how we can continue to ensure you get the very best care and attention as your condition progresses. Is that okay?

    Determine what is important to your loved one. Make sure your loved one knows you want to put his/her needs first. Ask what he/she is hoping for in the future a desire to be comfortable, to stay at home, to be pain-free?

    Discuss hospice care as a means of fulfilling the patients wishes. Once your loved one has told you what is important, explain that hospice is a way of making sure that his or her wishes and desires are met. For some, the word hospice evokes a false notion of giving up. Explain that hospice is not about surrendering to disease or death. It is about bringing quality of life to the patients remaining months, weeks or days. Learn why choosing hospice isn’t giving up.

    Mental And Emotional Stages

    What is Kidney Failure?

    People respond in different ways after learning they are terminally ill. But nearly every feeling is normal. So there isn’t one universal set of mental and emotional phases they can come and go without any apparent rhyme or reason. However, most terminally ill patients do experience at least some of the following mental or emotional states, though not necessarily in this order:

    Combined with a terminally ill senior’s spiritual convictions, intense emotions can sometimes play a role in bringing about dreams or visions that seem to have deep meaning. Often, such experiences are comforting. But having confusing or upsetting dreams or visions is sometimes a side effect of medication or a sign of a new, underlying medical complication that needs attention.

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    How Can I Cope Emotionally With My Terminal Illness

    Following the 10 steps above will go a long way toward helping you cope. Just keep in mind that it’s normal and healthy to experience a full range of emotions, even the uncomfortable ones. In fact, effectively coping with terminal illness may require fully embracing the difficult emotions instead of trying to push them away.

    When you’re living with a terminal illness, inspirational words can certainly be nice to hear or read. But for some patients, a kind of “inspiration fatigue” can set in and eventually do more to lower their spirits than raise them. After all, with so much positivity coming at you, it can start to feel like you’re doing things wrongespecially if your experience doesn’t match the stories you read or see on TV about the most upbeat patients, some of whom have seemingly even cheated death.

    All of the inspiring and cheerful portrayals of terminally ill patients in the media can also make you feel like you have to constantly show a positive and hopeful attitude in order to get any sympathy. As a result, you may feel tempted to pretend that you’re upbeat and optimistic, even when you don’t feel that way.

    But, in most situations, your job isn’t to prevent other people’s uncomfortable feelings about your illness. Your job is to be fully you. Whether positive, negative, or somewhere in between, your emotions can help you and other people better understand your current reality.

    Tips For Managing End

    There are several different ways you can help a loved one manage their end-stage kidney failure symptoms. Perhaps the most valuable thing you can do is listen to your loved one and try as best you can to address their issues. However, if at any time you are unsure of how you can help, or if the patient is unable to communicate effectively, we recommend contacting their primary care physician.

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    How Do Doctors Treat Kidney Failure

    You will need to see a nephrologist . Your nephrologist will talk with you about your treatment choices, which include:

    • Dialysis, which is a treatment that uses a machine to clean your blood
    • A kidney transplant:
    • , which is a surgery to give you a healthy kidney from someone who has just died
    • Living donor kidney transplant, which is a surgery to give you a healthy kidney from someone who is still alive

    Listen With Full Attention

    Reverse Kidney Disease Medicine

    Finally, it will be your listening skills that will serve you best as you dialogue with other loved ones and the patient about hospice and other options. Make your priority to listen to your loved one and really be sure you understand what they want to communicate. Resist the urge to persuade or debate. Plan for more than one conversation to take the pressure off as the dialogue continues.

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    Personalized Attention And Focus

    Once a patient transitions to hospice care, the hospice team participates with the patient and their loved ones in the final stages of life. Since this is such a deeply personal and individual experience for each participant, the focus of the hospice care team is to listen, to pay attention, to advocate when needed and to continually provide the best possible quality of life for all involved.

    Learn About The Kind Of Care And Support Your Friend Or Loved One Needs

    Some terminally ill seniors want help deciding what to do about their treatments, care, or other affairs. But many others simply want to be supported in what they have already decided to do. Listen, learn, and figure out how to define your role in a way that aligns with your friend or family member’s wishes.

    It could be that you simply need to be present or help foster a sense of normalcy. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, perhaps you need to be more involved in handling practical matters or advocating for the best care possible on behalf of the person you love. Just remember that it’s usually better to let him or her make that decision.

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    Is A Chronic Kidney Disease Diagnosis Considered Disabling

    A chronic kidney disease diagnosis is not automatically disabling, nor is it a death sentence. As with most conditions, the severity of your symptoms determines if the condition is disabling or not. Chronic kidney disease occurs when there is an impairment in kidney function. You are born with two kidneys. The kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from the bloodstream along with regulating blood pressure. When there is an impairment in kidney function, waste products and fluid can build up in the body. This causes swelling in the ankles, vomiting, weakness, shortness of breath, and poor sleep. Symptoms generally develop slowly, with some people exhibiting no symptoms at all. However, if left untreated, the condition can progress until the kidneys stop working altogether. Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are not working well for a minimum of three months.

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    Contact An Experienced Ssd Attorney

    In terms of a chronic kidney disease diagnosis, it is easier to prove you meet or equal one of the Social Security listings than it is to prove your symptoms cause severe limitations. This is because most of the symptoms related to kidney disease are subjective including fatigue, pain, and weakness. It is easier to prove a test result than to convince someone about your pain level. In either event, along with proving your functional capacity, it is highly advised you obtain representation from an experienced disability attorney who has a thorough knowledge of the Social Security listings.

    How Hospice Can Help With End

    Besides providing help in recognizing the signs of end-of-life kidney failure, hospice can help the family caregiver in managing their own needs. The team at Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care includes nurses, volunteers, aides, social workers, and doctors who provide many different services, from personal care like grooming and bathing, to help with managing the patients medication.

    If you would like to learn more about how Crossroads can help, we recommend you contact us now by selecting one of the 24/7 Help options from the green bar at the top of this page.

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    Show Up And Just Listen

    Your presence may be all that’s necessary to comfort the person you love. You may not have to say or do anything except provide hugs and listen without judgment. You don’t have to ask questions or offer advice or go out of your way to demonstrate your love or usefulness. And you don’t have to play the role of therapist or spiritual counselor.

    Let your friend or loved one choose when to share his or her thoughts and feelings with you. You can invite that kind of sharing, but don’t try to force it. When the sharing does happen, stay open and allow it to take whatever form it wants to.

    Even if a flood of confusing or distressing thoughts and emotions are being sharedsuch as fear or deniallet them come, without interrupting the flow or trying to offer solutions or a sunnier perspective. Simply provide a safe space for the person you care about to release and process those feelings.

    Discuss Your Care And Treatment Options

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    After the initial shock of your diagnosis wears off, schedule appointments with your doctors in order to have conversations about the courses of action that are available and realistic for you. Depending on your condition, you may have the option of pursuing treatments to extend your life or shifting your focus entirely to the management of your symptoms.

    But in order to make that kind of decision, you should learn all you can about what to expect from your particular illness as it progresses. Your doctors can talk to you about subjects like:

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