Your kidneys play a very important role in maintaining your body functions. They filter extra water and wastes out of your blood and make urine. When you develop kidney disease, your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should.
As your kidney disease gets worse, your provider or nephrologist may talk to you about preparing for kidney failure. When your kidney function drops below 15 percent of normal, you are said to have worsening kidney failure, and you may reach a point when lost kidney function has to be replaced with dialysis or kidney transplant.
It is important that you know your body and understand your condition. The more you know about kidney failure ahead of time, the better prepared you may be to make a treatment choice and take charge of your care.
What are some of the symptoms of worsening kidney disease?
You may have the following symptoms due to the buildup of waste products and extra water in your body:
- Abnormally dark or light skin
- Bone pain
- Drowsiness or problems concentrating or thinking
- Numbness or swelling in the hands and feet
- Muscle twitching or cramps
- Breath odor
- Easy bruising, or blood in the stool
- Excessive thirst
- Generalized fatigue
- Increasing shortness of breath
End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is the last stage of kidney failure when treatment is essential to preserve body functions and is treated by dialysis or kidney transplant.
To replace your lost kidney function, you may have one of three treatment options:
Kidney failure will change your day-to-day activities and may change your relationships with friends and family, and how you feel. Treatment will help you feel better and live longer.
Work with your health care team and family to consider your options and choose a treatment that’s right for you. Treatment will help you feel better and live longer.
The more you know ahead of time about what to expect, the better prepared you may be to make a treatment choice and take charge of your care. You also need to give yourself time to get used to the big changes that will be happening in your life. Each type of treatment has its pros and cons. Your choice of treatment will have a big effect on your daily life.
How soon should I start learning about what type of treatment to have?
Start learning early about treatment options—before you need one. You’ll have time to:
- Learn about the different treatment options
- Talk with other people who are living with dialysis or a transplant (your kidney doctor will be able to connect you with other patients at the dialysis center)
- Share your thoughts with your family and loved ones so they can learn about your treatment choices too
- Work with your health care team to create a kidney failure treatment plan
- Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the changes ahead
Creating a treatment plan and sharing it with your family gives you more control. Learn about treatment options before you need treatment for kidney failure.
We are here for you and will support you in this lifestyle changing treatments. From the decision-making process to the creation and maintenance of your dialysis access, our experienced vascular surgeons will be able to guide you and help you when you need them.
Call us with any questions and we will gladly talk to you about your concerns or book an appointment at your convenience with one our vascular specialists.