End-stage kidney disease is defined as the loss of 85-90% of your kidney function, with a GFR <15. (GFR-glomerular filtration rate). Once in kidney failure, the kidneys can not clean your blood properly and waste and toxins can build up to dangerous levels in the body. General symptoms of failing kidneys are decreased urine output, fluid retention, swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet, shortness of breath, and vomiting.
Once kidney failure is successfully monitored, your doctor can help you decide when to start dialysis. It is important to prepare for dialysis in advance, usually when your kidney disease reaches Stage 4. The chances of your kidneys recovering will depend on what caused your kidney failure:
- Acute Kidney Failure- when the kidneys stop functioning due to sudden stress. Kidney function may recover with dialysis for a few days or weeks.
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)- when the damage to your kidneys has been slow and progressive over a number of years. The kidneys usually do not get better and permanent dialysis is needed. “If your chronic kidney disease was not diagnosed until you were at the point of needing dialysis or a transplant, then it may seem sudden to you. However, the gradual injuries to your kidneys that occurred over a number of years caused permanent damage.”
- End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)- irreversible damage.
about the author
Lisa Foster is a mom of 3 daughters, a puzzle lover, writer and HealthTree advocate. She believes in the mission of the foundation and the team that builds it forward. She calls Houston, Texas home.