End-stage Renal Disease
- end-stage kidney disease
- end-stage renal failure
End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is the condition in which there is a permanent and essentially total loss of kidney function.
What is going on in the body?
Diabetes and high blood pressure are two diseases that cause many of the cases of end-stage renal disease in the US.
Other conditions that can lead to end-stage renal disease include:
glomerulonephritis, which is swelling and scarring of the filtering part of the kidneys
polycystic kidneys, an inherited disorder in which cysts enlarge the kidney and cause eventual failure eof their function.
interstitial kidney disease
obstructive uropathy, or a blockage in the urinary system
systemic lupus erythematosus or other similar autoimmune disesaes, in which there is long-term inflammation of joints, skin, and other organs including kidneys.
- multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow
In end-stage renal disease, toxins slowly build up in the body. Normal kidneys remove these toxins from the body through the passage of urine. The toxins most commonly measured are urea (BUN) and creatinine. By measuring these waste products in the blood, healthcare professionals can tell if the kidneys are functioning normally.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
The risk of end-stage renal disease is increased for
What can be done to prevent the disease?
End-stage renal disease can sometimes be prevented by controlling high blood pressure and managing diabetes very tightly. However, once ESRD occurs it is not reversible.
ACE inhibitor medications, such as lisinopril (i.e., Prinivil, Zestril) or enalapril (i.e., Vasotec), can be used to lower high blood pressure and slow the disease's progression before ESRD occurs.. These drugs are also used to lower the amount of protein in the urine. These drugs and other blood pressure medications can slow the rate of kidney failure decline.
How is the disease diagnosed?
The disease is diagnosed by a careful review of a person's medical history and physical examination and through blood tests. Blood samples will be taken to check the levels of creatinine and urea. Urine clearance studies and protein levels will also be done. The blood tests may also show high levels of potassium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, and magnesium as well as low levels of calcium.
An ultrasound of the kidneys may show small, scarred kidneys. A kidney biopsy, in which a small sample of kidney tissue is taken, may show how much damage has been done to the kidneys.
Long Term Effects
What are the long-term effects of the disease?
The long-term effects of end-stage renal disease include:
high blood pressure
a significantly high risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
swelling called edema, because the body is unable to get rid of extra fluid
electrolyte or mineral abnormalities, especially a high potassium, low calcium, and elevated phosphorus
anemia, a low level of red blood cells that carry oxygen
malnutrition (especially of proteins and calories)
increased risk of infections
decreased sexual drive
What are the treatments for the disease?
The treatments for end-stage renal disease necessitate dialysis and/or kidney transplant and also include:
a diet that restricts protein, potassium, and phosphorus
limited fluid intake
control of blood pressure by antihypertensive drugs
erythropoietin to improve anemia
Once end-stage renal disease is diagnosed, a person needs to have either dialysis or a kidney transplant. In dialysis, a machine acts as a healthy kidney would, filtering out waste products from the blood or other fluids.
Hemodialysis is the process of filtering out toxins from the blood and returning the blood to the body.
Peritoneal dialysis removes wastes from the peritoneal cavity, which includes the belly and pelvic areas.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects vary with the treatment used. Any surgery may result in bleeding, infection, and even death. There can be many complications with dialysis, including infections, low blood pressure, and lung and heart problems.
What happens after treatment for the disease?
A person who receives a kidney transplant needs lifelong treatment with immunosuppressants. These are drugs that keep the body's immune system from rejecting the new kidney. Dialysis must be done on a regular schedule. Diet is important for those with kidney failure. A person should be referred to a registered dietician for advice.
How is the disease monitored?
A kidney specialist will monitor dialysis treatment or any effects after a kidney transplant. Long-term follow-up is critical. A person should see his or her healthcare professional regularly even if there are no symptoms of kidney disease.