renal failure treatment

Treatment of Renal Failure

What is Renal Failure?

Renal failure, or kidney failure, can affect a person’s health is many different ways. Renal failure occurs when a rapid loss of renal function results in poor urine production, electrolyte disturbance and fluid balance disturbance.

Symptoms of Renal Failure

Symptoms of renal failure include congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm, fatigue, high blood potassium, rise in urea levels, low blood calcium, lack of appetite, cramping, edema (swelling), itching, restless legs, shortness of breath, lethargy, confusion, sleep issues, joint pain, anemia and depression. In most cases there will be no symptoms until kidneys are severely damaged.

How to treat renal failure?

There is no cure for kidney disease, but treatment can help in the relief of symptoms, and, to an extent, in slowing down the progression of the disease. Treatment also reduces the risk of developing secondary health issues. In some cases kidney disease will progress to end stage renal disease, with minimal kidney function. The focus should be on delaying or stopping the progression of kidney disease, diagnosing and treating the symptoms and planning for long term kidney replacement therapy. Treatment can include one, or several, of the following options and will be prescribed depending on the cause of the kidney disease and on the stage of the disease:

– Lifestyle changes: Adhering to a healthy diet as recommended by a nutritionist specializing in kidney failure, controlling  blood pressure, no smoking, reducing salt intake, moderate alcohol intake, keeping weight in check, daily exercise and reducing cholesterol levels, are fundamental in allowing for maximal kidney and circulation function.

– Balancing the amount of fluids in the blood: Expelling extra fluids with diuretics or supplementing fluids needed intravenously (IV).

– Controlling potassium levels: Excess potassium may cause arrhythmias and muscle weakness. If the kidneys are not filtering the potassium from the blood various medications such as calcium, glucose or sodium polystyrene sulfonate may be prescribed.

– Restoring blood calcium levels: Via calcium infusion

– Kidney replacement therapy: In the case of end stage renal disease (ESRD), when kidney function is minimal, there will be a need to find methods to mimic kidney function via hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or a kidney transplant.

– Hemodialysis (also known as dialysis) is used to filter toxins and excess fluids from the body, helping control blood pressure and balance crucial body chemicals and minerals. In order to allow for dialysis, an access to the bloodstream will be made in advance, via fistula, graft or catheter. Dialysis may be done in health centers or at home (in rare occasions).

– Peritoneal Dialysis is the use of abdominal lining to filter blood. A mixture of minerals and dextrose (sugar) are dissolved in water, and is inserted in the body via catheter. The dextrose draws the toxins and excess fluid from the blood vessels in the abdominal lining. The solution is then drained through the catheter and exchanged with new solution.

– Kidney transplant is the placing of a donated kidney in patient’s body, and connecting the donor kidneys artery and vein to patients own artery and vein. Kidney transplant requires a donor kidney (either from deceased donor or from living donor) that is compatible to patient’s blood type, human leukocyte antigens and cross matching antigens. After transplant, patient will need daily immuno- suppressants in order to prevent rejection of kidney. A successful transplant works like a normal, healthy kidney.