End Stage Renal Disease
What are the causes of ESRD?
ESRD is when the kidneys stop working well enough for you to live without dialysis or a transplant. This kind of kidney failure is permanent. It cannot be fixed. Most cases of ESRD are caused by diabetes or high blood pressure. Some problems you are born with, some reactions to medicines, and some injuries can also cause ESRD. If you have ESRD, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.
How is ESRD different from chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when there is permanent damage to your kidneys. Your kidneys may still work well enough for you to live, even if they have some damage.
If your kidneys keep getting worse, CKD can lead to kidney failure (ESRD). This is when the kidneys do not work well enough for you to live. If this happens, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.
Who gets ESRD?
Anyone can have ESRD. Some people are more likely to have ESRD than others. You are more at risk for ESRD if you have:
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Injury or trauma to the kidneys
- Major blood loss
How can I prevent ESRD?
The best way to prevent ESRD is to prevent CKD. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of CKD. You can help to protect your kidneys by keeping these in control. Get your blood sugar and blood pressure checked often.
You an also help protect your kidneys with other healthy habits. You should:
- Have regular check-ups with your doctor
- Eat a low-fat, low-salt diet
- Exercise most days of the week
- Avoid tobacco
- Drink alcohol only in moderation
Also, take medicines the way your doctor tells you. Talk to your doctor before you start any new medicine or supplement.
What are the tests for ESRD?
You may not know that you have a kidney problem until it is very far along. The only way to know how your kidneys are working is to have some simple medical tests. Ask your doctor about these tests:
- Blood pressure check
- Urine test
- Blood test for eGFR
How is ESRD treated?
The main job of the kidneys is to clean wastes and extra fluid from your blood. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. These are treatments to help replace the job of the kidneys.
But your kidneys do other jobs, too. They help:
- Control chemicals in your body
- Control your blood pressure
- Keep your bones healthy
- Make red blood cells
If your kidneys fail, they will not do these jobs well enough. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent problems like high blood pressure, bone disease and anemia (not enough red blood cells).
Changing some of the foods you eat is also important. You will need to have a kidney friendly diet to help you feel better and avoid other problems.