End-Stage Renal Disease Treatments
End-stage renal disease (ESRD), also called kidney failure, is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. The hallmark of this stage includes significantly reduced kidney function and it is irreversible. However, patients suffering from kidney failure can still live a longer life if they undergo available treatment options. Kidney failure means your kidneys have stopped functioning well enough to support daily requirements. The patient will die if they do not receive prompt treatment. It is essential to diagnose kidney diseases during the early stages to avoid ESRD. According to studies, early diagnosis can help slow down the progression of kidney disease. Here is a brief overview of the available treatment options for those with ESRD.
Kidney transplant is the number one treatment option for end-stage renal disease patients. This treatment involves transplanting a well-functioning kidney from a live or deceased donor and placing it in the lower abdomen of the patient. It is a surgical procedure that replaces the failing kidneys with good ones. Kidney transplant is very delicate and requires experienced surgeons. It is also an extensive process that includes the following:
- Finding a donor – your doctor will help you find a donor (alive or deceased) with a kidney that best matches yours.
- Pre-surgery preparations – this may involve taking a special diet or medication to prepare you for surgery. It also includes appointments with the doctor where you will get advice on what to expect and the transplant process.
- Actual transplant – this is the surgical procedure where the surgeons place the functioning kidney in your lower abdomen. It also involves attaching blood vessels.
- Post-surgery care – you will be in the hospital several weeks after the surgery. After discharge, your doctor will request frequent checkups and offer medications to improve your immune function and prevent infections.
Kidney dialysis is the most popular treatment you will find for ESRD. Most patients will use dialysis as they look for a donor or await a transplant. Dialysis involves using machines to do some of the kidney functions, such as removing excess fluid and waste products from your blood, controlling blood pressure and restoring electrolyte levels. According to studies, there are two main types of dialyzes available to patients. These are:
- Peritoneal dialysis
In this dialysis, the blood vessels in your abdominal lining (peritoneum) do the filtration work for your kidney. A special fluid washes the inside and outside of the peritonea removing salts and unwanted compounds from your blood. You can safely accomplish peritoneal dialysis at the comfort of your home.
Hemodialysis involves a particular machine that filters salts, fluids, and other chemicals from the blood. The machines completely take over the function of your kidney. You can accomplish hemodialysis at a center or home.
Patients suffering from kidney failure require ongoing care and support. Realizing you have kidney disease can be traumatizing, especially because there is no cure to regenerate your organs. Supportive care can help you manage the symptoms and cope with the challenges of ESRD. In itself, supportive care is not a treatment for kidney failure; you should combine it with a more effective treatment such as dialysis. ESRD is fatal if you do not get dialysis or transplant. The progression rate varies from patient to patient.
Once the diagnosis results come back, and you test positive of ESRD, your doctor will recommend various changes that include altering your diet to support treatment and recovery. Dietary changes reduce the threshold of kidney functions that your body needs. It involves reducing your intake of salts such as sodium and potassium as well as protein, alcohol, and other impurities. Your doctor will generally provide a list of ingredients you should avoid and a complementary list of healthy alternatives.
End-stage renal disease is a devastating chronic condition that can be fatal if you do not get immediate treatment. This is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. As such, it is recommendable that you get a diagnosis as soon as you experience any adverse symptoms of kidney disease. Catching the disease early is the key to slowing down its progression to the latter stages. It is also essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle that supports your kidney health.