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What Happens If Your Kidneys Fail

How Long Can You Live With Chronic Kidney Disease

How your kidneys work and what happens when they fail

The life expectancy of the chronic kidney disease depends on the stage at the time of diagnosis. It is a condition that affects old people differently from young adults. Life expectancies decrease with age when diagnosis occurred.

People with a diagnosis at the age of 30 have a possibility of living 10 to 20 years. However, due to renal treatment and technology improvement, the lifespan may go up with a few years.;

Studies show that patients with a GFR of 60 and above and aged between 30 and 50 years when diagnosed. They have a life expectancy of between 24 years and 12 years.

Those patients facing stage 4 of the disease have a life expectancy of 20 years for those with 30 years old and 7 years for those with 50 years old.

When these patients reach end-stage renal disease or stage 5, the life expectancy shortens even further. Individuals aged 60 years and 85 years have a life expectancy of 6 years and between twelve and eighteen months, respectively.

These statistics are only approximated and averages, these are not absolute numbers as the situation. Life expectancy varies from case to case, but as people grow older, life expectancy reduces.

Can Kidney Failure Be Prevented

While kidney failure from chronic kidney disease cant be reversed, you can do many things to help preserve the kidney function you have today. Healthy habits and routines may slow down how quickly kidneys lose their functional abilities.

If you have chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, youll want to:

  • Monitor your kidney function, with your doctors help.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels under control, if you have diabetes.
  • Keep your blood pressure levels in a normal range.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Make healthy diet choices, such as limiting foods high in protein and sodium.

What Are Dialysis And Hemodialysis

    Dialysis cleanses the body of waste products in the body by use of filter systems. There are two types of dialysis, 1) hemodialysis and 2) peritoneal dialysis.

    Hemodialysis uses a machine filter called a dialyzer or artificial kidney to remove excess water and salt, to balance the other electrolytes in the body, and to remove waste products of metabolism. Blood is removed from the body and flows through tubing into the machine, where it passes next to a filter membrane. A specialized chemical solution flows on the other side of the membrane. The dialysate is formulated to draw impurities from the blood through the filter membrane. Blood and dialysate never touch in the artificial kidney machine.

    For this type of dialysis, access to the blood vessels needs to be surgically created so that large amounts of blood can flow into the machine and back to the body. Surgeons can build a fistula, a connection between a large artery and vein in the body, usually in the arm, that allows a large amount of blood to flow into the vein. This makes the vein swell or dilate, and its walls become thicker so that it can tolerate repeated needle sticks to attach tubing from the body to the machine. Since it takes many weeks or months for a fistula to mature enough to be used, significant planning is required if hemodialysis is to be considered as an option.

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    What Happens If My Kidneys Fail Completely

    Complete and irreversible kidney failure is sometimes called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD. If your kidneys stop working completely, your body fills with extra water and waste products. This condition is called uremia. Your hands or feet may swell. You will feel tired and weak because your body needs clean blood to function properly.

    Untreated uremia may lead to seizures or coma and will ultimately result in death. If your kidneys stop working completely, you will need to undergo dialysis or kidney transplant.

    What Is Chronic Kidney Disease

    What happens if your kidneys fail?

    Most kidney problems, however, happen slowly over a long period of time. You may have silent kidney disease for years. Gradual loss of kidney function is called chronic kidney disease or chronic renal insufficiency. Those with CKD often go on to permanent kidney failure. The damage that results from chronic kidney disease cannot be reversed.

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    What Should I Eat When I Have Kidney Failure

    Dialysis helps to do some of the work that your kidneys did when they were healthy, but it cannot do everything that healthy kidneys do. Therefore, even when you are on dialysis, you will need to limit what and how much you eat and drink. Your diet needs may depend on the type of dialysis you are on and your treatment schedule. Learn more about the diet for living with kidney failure.

    Learn what healthy eating means for people in every stage of kidney disease, including those on dialysis or living with a kidney transplant. Find recipes on Kidney Kitchen.

    When To Call A Professional

    Many people with acute kidney injury that progresses to acute renal failure are already hospitalized for their other medical conditions. Other people should call a health care professional whenever the amount of urine they produce either increases or decreases markedly. In people with decreased urine output, swelling of the face and ankles is another danger sign, especially if there is also shortness of breath. For people with chronic renal failure, it is a good idea to check with your health care professional whenever a new medication is prescribed.;

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    What Treatments Are Available For Kidney Failure

    There are two treatments for kidney failure dialysis and kidney transplant. The dialysis treatments or transplanted kidney will take over some of the work of your damaged kidneys and remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. This will make many of your symptoms better.

    What Do The Kidneys Stop Doing As The Damage Progresses

    What is Kidney Failure?

    In the presence of kidney injury, the kidney can maintain the bloods glomerular filtration rate despite the progressive destruction of healthy glomeruli.

    The remaining glomeruli enlarge and filtrates more than usual to maintain normal levels in the blood. This situation is sustainable until the kidney function decreases to 50%. Later this may result in a major cause of progressive renal dysfunction. The increase of pressure within glomeruli may damage the small blood vessels leading to further damage.;

    Before reaching those stages, the kidneys initially decrease the production of erythropoietin, the hormone responsible for bone marrow stimulation for red blood cell production. This leads to the onset of anemia, and it becomes more severe with the progression of the disease.

    Kidneys also lose the ability to filter sodium, leading to sodium retention and the inability to eliminate liquids, causing edema and accumulation of liquids within the body.

    The kidneys also lose the ability to eliminate potassium through the urine,which leads to an excess of potassium in the blood . Excess of potassium can lead to multiple complications like arrhythmias and cardiovascular disease.

    Bone disease is a common complication in this condition due to the retention of phosphate and low calcium levels in the blood. The kidneys also become unable to produce ammonia to excrete normal acids of the body in the form of ammonium leading to metabolic acidosis.

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    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.

    The steps that you take to manage your kidney disease, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose will also help you prevent heart attacks or strokes.

    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.

    What If My Kidneys Fail

    Some people live with kidney disease for years and are able to maintain kidney function. Others progress quickly to kidney failure.

    Kidney failure means that your kidneys have lost most of their ability to functionless than 15 percent of normal kidney function. If your kidney function drops to this level, you may have symptoms from the buildup of waste products and extra water in your body.

    To replace your lost kidney function, you may have one of three treatment options:

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    Dialysis For Kidney Failure

    Dialysis artificially removes waste from your blood. There are two forms of dialysis haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis is further broken down into two main types, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and automated peritoneal dialysis .The choice of dialysis method depends of factors such as your age, health and lifestyle. Over 2,000 Australian adults start renal replacement therapy each year.

    Why Do Kidneys Fail

    What Happens If My Kidneys Fail Completely?

    Most kidney diseases attack the nephrons, causing them to lose their filtering capacity. Damage to the nephrons may happen quickly, as the result of injury or poisoning, but most kidney diseases destroy the nephrons slowly and silently. Only after years or even decades will the damage become apparent. Most kidney diseases attack both kidneys at the same time.

    The two most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. If your family has a history of any kind of kidney problems, you may be at risk for kidney disease.

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    Several Changes On The Bloodwork Suggest Kidney Failure:

    • Increased blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels: BUN and creatinine are waste products that normal-functioning kidneys easily eliminate.
    • Reduced potassium
    • Elevated phosphorus
    • Anemia

    A relatively new blood test that measures a substance called SDMA helps to diagnose kidney failure even earlier than can be done with routine bloodwork.

    On a urinalysis, dilute urine would suggest kidney failure, especially if the bloodwork shows elevated BUN and creatinine. Protein may also be present in the urine.

    Because hypertension can cause kidney failure, a veterinarian may also take a cats blood pressure to help confirm a kidney failure diagnosis.

    How Is Kidney Failure Treated

    Kidney failure treatment is determined by the cause and extent of the problem. Treating your chronic medical condition can delay the progression of kidney disease. If your kidneys start losing their function gradually, your doctor may use one or more methods to track your health. By watching you closely, your doctor can help you maintain your kidneys function as long as possible.

    Your doctor may gauge your kidney function with:

    • Routine blood tests
    • Blood pressure checks
    • Medication

    Because the kidneys serve such an important purpose, people in kidney failure need treatment to keep them alive. The main treatments for kidney failure are:

    • Dialysis: This treatment helps the body filter the blood .
    • In hemodialysis, a machine regularly cleans your blood for you. People often receive this kidney failure treatment at a hospital or dialysis clinic, 3 or 4 days each week.
    • Peritoneal dialysis cleans the blood in a slightly different way using a dialysis solution and a catheter. Sometimes, people can do their treatment at home.
  • Kidney transplant: In kidney transplant surgery, doctors place a healthy kidney in your body to take over the job of your damaged organs. This healthy kidney, called a donor organ, may come from a deceased donor or a living donor, who may be a friend or family member. People can live well with one healthy kidney.
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    Blood And Urine Tests

    If your doctor thinks you might have chronic kidney failure, they will order blood and urine tests.

    Blood tests for kidney function measure the levels of electrolytes and waste in your blood. They measure waste products such as creatinine and blood urea. Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Blood urea is leftover when your body breaks down proteins. When your kidneys are working properly, they excrete both substances.

    Urine tests will be performed to check for abnormalities. For example, protein is normally only present in trace amounts in your urine. An elevated protein level might indicate kidney problems months or even years before other symptoms appear. Your urine sediment and cells found in your urine will also be examined in a laboratory.

    When Should I Call The Doctor

    10 Signs Your Kidneys Are Crying for Help | Kidney Disease & Kidney Failure

    A nephrologist receives special training in kidney evaluation and treatment. You may benefit from a kidney specialists expert opinion if:

    • You have trouble keeping your blood pressure levels in a normal range, even with medication.
    • Your blood sugar levels fluctuate widely.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/11/2018.

    References

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    About Joanna Pendergrass Dvm

    JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM, is a veterinarian and freelance medical writer in Atlanta, GA. After;graduating from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine with her veterinary;degree, JoAnna completed a 2-year research fellowship in neuroscience at Emory University.;During this fellowship, she learned that she could make a career out of combining her loves of;science and writing. As a medical writer, JoAnna is passionate about providing pet parents with clear, concise, and;engaging information about pet care. Through her writing, she strives not only to educate pet;parents, but also empower them to make good health decisions for their pets. JoAnna is a;member of the American Medical Writers Association and Dog Writers Association of America.

    What Are The Complications Of Kidney Failure

    Your kidneys do many jobs to keep you healthy. Cleaning your blood is only one of their jobs. They also control chemicals and fluids in your body, help control your blood pressure and help make red blood cells. Dialysis can do only some, not all, of the jobs that healthy kidneys do. Therefore, even when you are being treated for kidney failure, you may have some problems that come from having kidneys that donĂ¢t work well. Learn more about the complications of kidney failure.

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    What Happens When The Liver And Kidneys Shut Down

    When the kidneys shut down the body is unable to excrete waste and maintain its electrolyte imbalance, MedicineNet states. People who suffer from liver failure may experience bleeding disorders, excessive fluid on the brain, infections and an increased risk of kidney failure, according to Mayo Clinic.

    When someone experiences liver failure excessive fluid in the brain causes pressure that can move brain tissue and deprive it of oxygen. Additionally, it is no longer able to offer the clotting factors that prevent blood from being too thin, resulting in bleeding disorders. One of the first places where this occurs is the gastrointestinal tract. It also makes people vulnerable to infections, and places extra pressure on the kidneys that results in them beginning to fail.

    As the kidneys are responsible for excreting waste and maintaining an electrolyte imbalance, the patient may enter metabolic acidosis. The kidneys are no longer able to remove ketones from the blood, making it more acidic. Low sodium bicarbonate and high lactic acid levels have the same effect. As a result, the patient may develop ketone breath, which has a fruity scent. He or she may also become fatigued, lethargic, confused and drowsy. Eventually, his or her heart may begin to suffer, including arrhythmias such as tachycardia, edema and congestive heart failure.

    Special Steps For People With Diabetes

    What happens when your kidneys fail?

    If you have diabetes, work with your dietitian to make a diet plan that allows you to avoid the nutrients you need to limit, while also controlling your blood sugar. If you do PD, keep in mind that PD solution has dextrose in it. Dextrose is a type of sugar. When you do PD, some of the dextrose is taken in by your body. If you have diabetes, it is very important to count the dextrose in your PD solution as extra sugar in your diet. Talk to your health care provider or dietitian if you have questions about managing your blood sugar if you do PD.

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    Acute Kidney Failure Complications

    Acute kidney failure can sometimes cause complications. These include:

    • Fluid buildup. Acute kidney failure can sometimes cause a buildup of fluid in your body. If fluid builds up in your lungs, this can cause shortness of breath.
    • Chest pain. If the lining that covers your heart becomes inflamed, you may have chest pain.
    • Acidic blood . If your blood has too much acid due to acute kidney failure, you can end up with nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and breathlessness.
    • Muscle weakness. When your body’s fluids and electrolytes are out of balance, you can get muscle weakness. In serious cases, this can lead to paralysis and heart rhythm problems.
    • Permanent kidney damage. Acute kidney failure can become chronic and your kidneys will stop working almost entirely or completely. This is called end-stage renal disease. If this happens, you will need to go on permanent dialysis or get a kidney transplant.
    • Death. Acute kidney failure can lead to loss of kidney function that is so bad, it can cause death.

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