Kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to function adequately. This can lead to a build-up of poisonous waste products, high blood pressure, anemia and fluid overload (too much fluid) that can cause swelling and shortness of breath.
There are two possible causes of kidney failure:
- Acute Renal Failure (ARF) is a condition that results in a sudden decrease in kidney function or kidney damage within a few hours or a few days.
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time.
Causes of Kidney Failure
Generally speaking, people are at an increased risk of kidney failure if they have diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), a family history of kidney disease, or are of older age. Additionally, people with complications like anemia, diabetes or heart disease, might develop symptoms sooner than patients without these other conditions.
Symptoms of Kidney Failure
Most symptoms of kidney failure are nonspecific, meaning that the same symptoms could apply to a variety of diseases or conditions. For example, the most common symptoms are a loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting — but even the common cold or flu can produce those symptoms. It’s important to be overly cautious though.
Treating Kidney Failure
When life brings you face to face with kidney disease, you want the best care possible. And the best team. That’s why the Crozer Health team brings together physicians, surgeons and other healthcare professionals from across the hospital—nephrology, cardiology, oncology, endocrinology and the largest dialysis center in the Delaware Valley—to deliver a compassionate, multi-disciplined team approach to treating kidney disease.
- Dialysis: For patients with kidney disease, dialysis (cleansing of the blood with an artificial kidney machine) may be needed to perform the tasks that the kidney once performed.
- Kidney Transplant: For patients with end-stage renal disease or those who cannot or do not want to depend on dialysis, kidney transplant surgery can be lifesaving and life-changing.