Kidney failure is a serious and life-threatening condition. People with kidney failure have a high risk of death and serious medical complications.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, early and aggressive treatment can improve the odds of recovery.
What are the symptoms of kidney failure?
The symptoms of kidney failure can vary from person to person.
The most common symptoms of kidney failure include:
- Severe fatigue
- Muscle cramps
- Poor appetite
- Fluid buildup around the lungs and other parts of the body
- Frequent urination
- High blood pressure
- Poor circulation
- Excessive thirst
- Changes in the skin’s color
The symptoms of kidney failure can mimic those of other conditions. Always talk with your doctor about any other symptoms you have.
How is kidney failure diagnosed?
There are several tests that your doctor can use to diagnose kidney disease. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and your health history. They may also order blood tests to check for signs of kidney failure.
Tests that may be done include:
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests
- Urine tests
How is kidney failure treated?
Treatment for kidney failure depends on the cause and severity of your condition. Your doctor may decide to start you on a low-salt diet to help reduce fluid buildup in your body.
Lifestyle changes are also helpful. This includes losing weight if you’re overweight. People with kidney failure may also need to reduce their fluid intake.
Medications to help treat kidney failure include:
- Diuretics. A diuretic is a medication that helps your body get rid of excess fluid. These can be taken orally or applied topically.
- Renin-angiotensin system blockers. These medications help your body to reduce the amount of salt your body puts into your blood. This helps lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Potassium. This helps your body retain water.
- Aldosterone antagonists. This helps your body retain sodium.
- SGLT2 inhibitors. This helps your body get rid of excess fluid.
Your doctor may also prescribe:
- Antibiotics to treat infections
- Anti-nausea medication
- Antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection
How long do you have to live with kidney failure?
The sooner your kidney disease is treated, the better. However, it’s not always possible to reverse kidney disease.
People who have kidney failure have a high risk of death and serious medical complications.
The average life expectancy for those who survive kidney failure is about 6 months.
The outlook depends on the cause and severity of your kidney failure.
What is the long-term outlook for kidney failure?
A kidney transplant is the only way to keep your kidneys working. Kidney failure is a serious condition that needs to be treated. The longer you wait to start treatment, the worse your outlook will be.
Your doctor will work with you to come up with a treatment plan that’s best for you. Once you’re diagnosed with kidney failure, you’ll want to start treatment as soon as possible.
How can I prevent kidney failure?
The best way to prevent kidney failure is to manage your risk factors. These include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Managing your blood pressure
- Managing your cholesterol
- Managing your blood glucose levels
- Maintaining a normal sodium and potassium level
- Getting regular checkups
If you have a family history of kidney failure, you may want to talk with your doctor about some of these risk factors.
What is the recovery time for kidney failure?
Recovering from kidney failure depends on the cause and severity of the condition.
People may need to go through several stages of recovery before they’re able to return to their normal activities.
The length of time you’re in the hospital and in the intensive care unit will depend on the cause of your kidney failure.
It may take several months before you’re able to go home and resume your normal activities.
You may need to take prescription medications at home during this time.
How long will you live with kidney failure?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, people who have kidney failure live an average of 6 months after starting treatment. Those who have chronic kidney failure live an average of 13 months.
If you have kidney failure due to chronic kidney disease, the average lifespan is around 16 years. If you have acute kidney failure, it’s likely that you’ll live for less than 1 year.
Is there a cure for kidney failure?
There’s no cure for kidney failure. Instead, treatment focuses on controlling the amount of fluid in your body, reducing your risk of infection, and managing your high blood pressure.
However, many people with kidney failure do live a normal life.
Kidney failure can be caused by a number of other medical conditions, such as:
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugar
- A genetic condition called polycystic kidney disease
- Kidney cancer
- A blockage in the urinary tract
Can I prevent kidney failure?
There’s no way to prevent kidney failure. However, you can lower your risk of developing this condition by:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Managing your blood sugar
- Managing your blood cholesterol
- Keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range
- Keeping your blood pressure medications up to date
What’s the outlook for people with kidney failure?
The outlook for people with kidney failure depends on the cause and severity of the condition.
People with kidney failure have a high risk of death and serious medical complications. The longer you wait to start treatment, the worse your outlook will be.
Kidney failure can result from conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or an infection. You can prevent kidney failure by protecting your kidneys.
Talk with your doctor about how to lower your risk of getting kidney disease. If you develop kidney failure, start treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan that
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