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Home > Be Healthy > Health Library > End-Stage Renal Disease
End-stage renal disease means that your kidneys may no longer be able to keep you alive. When your kidneys get to the point where they can no longer remove waste, you may need dialysis or a new kidney. When you understand your options, you can make the choice that's best for you.
End-stage renal disease affects your whole body. It can cause serious heart, bone, lung, blood, and brain problems.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes.
Other things that can lead to end-stage renal disease include kidney diseases and infections. Long-term use of certain medicines can also damage the kidneys.
For some people, a narrowed or blocked renal artery or a kidney problem they were born with can lead to end-stage renal disease.
As end-stage renal disease gets worse, it can cause:
Your doctor will do regular blood tests to check on how you're doing. The tests help your doctor know if you need any changes in your treatment. Blood tests measure:
In end-stage renal disease, your two treatment choices are dialysis and a kidney transplant.
Many people with end-stage renal disease have successful kidney transplants. Others live for years using dialysis. Some people choose not to treat their kidney failure and instead make end-of-life plans.
Making these treatment decisions when you are very ill is hard. And it's common to be worried and afraid. It may help to visit a dialysis center or transplant center and talk to others who have made these choices.
When you're living with end-stage renal disease, making healthy choices can help you feel better.
These steps may also help with high blood pressure, diabetes, or other problems that make kidney disease worse.
Some medicines can hurt your kidneys. Always talk to your doctor before you take any new medicine, including over-the-counter remedies, prescription drugs, vitamins, and herbs.
Current as of:
December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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