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.
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.
Swelling In Hands Or Feet
Why this happens:
Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, and/or hands.
What patients said:
I remember a lot of swelling in my ankles. My ankles were so big I couldn’t get my shoes on.
Going to work one morning, my left ankle was swollen, real swollen, and I was very exhausted just walking to the bus stop. And I knew then that I had to see a doctor.
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Living With Kidney Disease
Kidney disease affects different people in different ways, both physically and emotionally. It can impact on many aspects of life, including personal relationships, jobs and social life.
Get help with the many aspects of living with kidney disease, including mental health, diet, fluid restrictions, questions to ask you doctor, and benefits, on our Living with kidney disease section
We also have information on the following:
What Happens When You Have Kidney Failure
We were born with two kidneys located at the back of our body, in between the spine. The kidneys start producing urine, as early as during fetal life, in the mothers womb. As early as 14 weeks of pregnancy. The kidney develops as other organs, reaching its maturity when the individual reaches at 25 years old.The microfiltration unit in the kidney called nephron and each kidney has 1 million units once reach the age of 25 years old. In total there are 2 million units in a healthy individual.
How does your kidney function?
- Maintaining sodium balance
- Excreting out via urine excessive amount of potassium
- Excreting out excessive acids and nitrogenous waste products
- Maintaining calcium and phosphate balance
- Producing red blood cells in our body, via a process called erythropoiesis. A hormone named erythropoietin is produced in the renal cells to assist this process.
What happens when your kidney fails to function?
How to prevent further damages toward our kidneys?
Who Is More Likely To Develop Ckd
You are at risk for kidney disease if you have
- Diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD. High blood glucose, also called blood sugar, from diabetes can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys. Almost 1 in 3 people with diabetes has CKD.1
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure is the second leading cause of CKD. Like high blood glucose, high blood pressure also can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys. Almost 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure has CKD.1
- Heart disease. Research shows a link between kidney disease and heart disease. People with heart disease are at higher risk for kidney disease, and people with kidney disease are at higher risk for heart disease. Researchers are working to better understand the relationship between kidney disease and heart disease.
- Family history of kidney failure. If your mother, father, sister, or brother has kidney failure, you are at risk for CKD. Kidney disease tends to run in families. If you have kidney disease, encourage family members to get tested. Use tips from the family health reunion guide and speak with your family during special gatherings.
Your chances of having kidney disease increase with age.1 The longer you have had diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, the more likely that you will have kidney disease.
If you are at risk for kidney disease, learn ways to prevent kidney disease.
Supporting Those Around The Patient
Family, friends and carers may have supported the patient for a long time. They may have built strong relationships with the care team. Support them by:
- helping them understand how the patient’s condition may progress
- telling them about local support services
- making sure they have emotional and practical support.
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What Is Chronic Kidney Disease
In this section:
Chronic kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and cant filter blood the way they should. The disease is called chronic because the damage to your kidneys happens slowly over a long period of time. This damage can cause wastes to build up in your body. CKD can also cause other health problems.
The kidneys main job is to filter extra water and wastes out of your blood to make urine. To keep your body working properly, the kidneys balance the salts and mineralssuch as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassiumthat circulate in the blood. Your kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure, make red blood cells, and keep your bones strong.
Kidney disease often can get worse over time and may lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your health.
The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can make changes to protect your kidneys.
What Can I Do To Help Myself
If you smoke, stop. Ask for help in stopping if you need to. There are lots of treatments to help.
Try to control your blood pressure. Take any blood pressure medications regularly and as directed by your doctor. Reduce the amount of salt in your diet to less than 6g per day.
You can find advice on how to reduce your salt intake on the FoodSwitch UK website.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, have diabetes or advanced kidney disease, and need advice on your diet, ask your GP about the services available in your area. They may refer you to a dietitian for specialist advice.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet, with support from your GP and dietician where this is available.
You can find out a lot more about following a kidney-friendly diet on our Kidney Kitchen site.
Avoid anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen as they can make kidney disease worse. Ask your pharmacist each time you are given a new medicine to check that it is okay for you to take with your reduced kidney function
If you are unwell you may need to temporarily stop taking certain medications. This is particularly important if you take blood pressure medications. Please discuss this with your GP, pharmacist or kidney specialist.
Do not stop your medication without taking medical advice.
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Treatment Of Chronic Kidney Disease
Treatment of conditions that worsen kidney function
Dietary measures and drugs
. 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 Introduction to Death and Dying Death is an intrinsic part of life, and talking about the likely outcomes of illness, including death and dying, is an important part of health care. Doctors and patients vary in the language… read more is important.
Kidney Failure Urine Color
The color of your urine is a small window into your bodys health. It doesnt tell you much about the state of your kidney function until damage to the kidneys has progressed.
Still, urine color changes may be a warning sign of some issues.
- Clear or pale yellow.Clear or pale yellow urine indicates youre well hydrated. This is the ideal color in most cases.
- Dark yellow or amber. You may be dehydrated. Try drinking more water and cutting down on dark sodas, tea, or coffee.
- Orange. This could be a sign of dehydration, or it might be a sign of bile in your bloodstream. Kidney disease doesnt typically cause this.
- Pink or red. Urine with a pink tint or a bit of red could have blood in it. It could also be caused by certain foods, like beets or strawberries. A quick urine test can tell the difference.
- Foamy. Urine with excess bubbles is a sign that it likely has a lot of protein in it. Protein in urine is a sign of kidney disease.
Urine color can raise flags for potential problems. Learn about the common color causes and whats most likely to affect the shade of your pee.
People who are most at risk usually have one or more of the following.
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What Your Kidneys Do
- Keep a balance of water and minerals in your blood
- Remove waste from your blood after digestion, muscle activity, and exposure to chemicals or medications
- Make renin, which your body uses to help manage your blood pressure
- Make a chemical called erythropoietin, which prompts your body to make red blood cells
- Make an active form of vitamin D, needed for bone health and other things
Are There Tests To Diagnose The Cause Of Kidney Failure
Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys are functioning at less than 15% of their normal values. This is determined by a test known as the estimated glomerular filtration rate , which calculates how effectively the filters of the kidneys are able to remove waste.
Diagnosing the underlying cause of kidney failure may involve blood tests, urine tests, and imaging studies such as ultrasound, computed tomography , or magnetic resonance imaging . These can help pinpoint the cause of the problem, whether it be an obstruction, infection, or injury.
A kidney biopsy may also be performed, which can help establish if there is an infection, an inflammatory condition, tissue necrosis , or cancer. This can usually be done by extracting a tissue sample through the wall of the abdomen with a needle .
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How Is Ckd Diagnosed
Most people are diagnosed by a blood and urine test. You may have these tests as part of a routine check-up or because you are at risk of developing CKD.
Once you are diagnosed, your doctor will work out what stage of CKD you have. This is done by measuring the amount of creatinine, a waste product which builds up in kidney disease. Your doctors can use this to estimate how well your kidneys are working. You may hear this referred to as your estimated glomerular filtration rate . It is based on how quickly your kidneys are cleaning your blood and is measured in millilitres per minute
Most people with CKD stages one to three can manage the condition themselves with their GP and do not need any specialist input from kidney doctors.
CKD can slowly get worse over time, although for the majority of people it remains stable and only a very small number of people will need renal replacement therapy such as dialysis. It is unusual for kidney function to improve dramatically once your kidneys have been damaged but it does depend on the cause of the problem.
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.
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How Do I Cope With Kidney Failure
Learning you have kidney failure can be a shock, even if you have known for a long time that your kidneys were not working well. You may feel sad or anxious.
Reach out for support from your health care team and your family, friends and community. They can help you make changes to feel your best while you get dialysis and may be waiting for a kidney transplant.
To feel your best, your doctors will recommend that you:
- Go to every dialysis visit and consider getting a kidney transplant.
- Have visits with a nephrologist.
- Meet with a dietitian to help you create and follow a kidney-friendly eating plan.
- Keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. They may prescribe blood pressure medicines
- Keep your blood sugar at a healthy level if you have diabetes.
- Be active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Drink less alcohol and quit smoking or using tobacco.
Symptoms Of Kidney Failure
The kidneys are responsible for ridding the body of wastes, toxins, and excess fluids while returning hormones, glucose , minerals, and other important substances to the bloodstream.
When the kidneys fail, fluids, waste, and other substances can accumulate to harmful levels. At the same time, hormones normally produced by the kidneys can plummet due to the damage to the kidneys themselves. Both effects account for many of the symptoms of kidney failure.
Common symptoms include:
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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.
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Prognosis Of Chronic Kidney Disease
If chronic kidney disease is caused by a disorder that can be corrected and if that disorder has not been present for too long, then kidney function may improve when the causative disorder is successfully treated. Otherwise, kidney function tends to worsen over time. The rate of decline in kidney function depends somewhat on the underlying disorder causing chronic kidney disease and on how well the disorder is controlled. For example, diabetes and high blood pressure, particularly if poorly controlled, cause kidney function to decline more rapidly. Chronic kidney disease is fatal if not treated.
When the decline in kidney function is severe , survival is usually limited to several months in people who are not treated, but people who are treated with dialysis Dialysis Dialysis is an artificial process for removing waste products and excess fluids from the body, a process that is needed when the kidneys are not functioning properly. There are a number of reasons… read more can live much longer. However, even with dialysis, people with end-stage kidney failure die sooner than people their age who do not have end-stage kidney disease. Most die from heart or blood vessel disorders or infections.
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Treatment For Kidney Failure
When you have kidney failure , it means your kidneys have stopped working well enough for you to live without treatment. There is no cure for kidney failure, but with treatment many people with kidney failure are able to keep doing activities they want or need to do. Talk to your doctor about which treatment is best for you.
Why Do I Need Dialysis
If your kidneys are not working properly for example, because you have advanced chronic kidney disease the kidneys may not be able to clean the blood properly.
Waste products and fluid can build up to dangerous levels in your body. Left untreated, this can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms and eventually be fatal.
Dialysis filters out unwanted substances and fluids from the blood before this happens.
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What Do The Kidneys Stop Doing As The Damage Progresses
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.