Understanding Kidney Disease

Understanding Kidney Disease

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. A licensed healthcare professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions.

Kidney failure or End Stage Renal Disease (ERSD) is when your kidney function begins to deteriorate.

A person can stay healthy with just one kidney working at 10-20% of its normal capacity. But when the kidneys completely fail, the body can be affected in many ways.

Some symptoms may be due to the illness which has caused the kidneys to stop working, and others due to the lack of kidney function itself.

Possible Symptoms:

  • As the kidneys stop working, waste products accumulate in the blood. This may cause you to feel generally unwell with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite or disturbed sleep.
  • The kidneys will produce less urine and excess fluid is retained in the body. This may result in symptoms such as swollen hands and ankles, breathlessness and weight gain.
  • The body will not produce as many red blood cells. This is known as anaemia and may cause weakness and lethargy.
  • The build up on toxins in the body may also make the skin itchy.

How does it occur?

As part of the body´s waste-removal system, healthy kidneys work primarily to clean the blood of wastes produced through food intake and metabolic function. Each day the kidney's job is to process approximately 190 litres of blood through 225km of 'tubes', and millions of 'mini filters' called 'nephrons'. Every hour of every day, blood travels from the heart to the kidneys for a "cleansing" process. Millions of tiny filters in the kidneys remove unwanted waste and extra fluid from the body. This unwanted waste and extra fluid is excreted through the kidneys in the form of urine. It is when this urinary function begins to fail that the onset of kidney failure, or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) could be near. Chronic renal failure can affect anyone at any time. Some people don't know that anything is wrong until they actually need treatment. A number of things can cause kidney failure, including diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, blockage, and chronic infection.

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options open to you, and one of them will best suit your medical and lifestyle needs. Current treatment options for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) include Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), Haemodialysis (HD) kidney transplantation and conservative treatment. Worldwide, more than one million people suffering from chronic kidney failure are treated with some form of dialysis. However, approximately three million people with kidney failure currently go undiagnosed or untreated, particularly in developing countries. Therefore it is important for you to have all of the information you need about kidney disease and the treatment options available, so that you play an active role in your treatment choice with your healthcare team.

Help and Support

Baxter is committed to helping kidney disease patients across the globe receive the best treatment options available to them. Further information on kidney disease is available on the Kidney Health Organisations Home Dialysis Information website. Additional information on understanding treatment options is available within Baxter's takecontrol Patient Pre-Dialysis Education Pack. To request a Baxter Takecontrol Patient Pack today, simply complete the form below:

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Kidney Disease Resources

For additional resources on kidney disease, please click on one of the links below.