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Treatments Available for Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidney that has begun to shutdownIf you have developed chronic kidney disease (CKD) or renal impairment, then you are going to need immediate treatment to prevent kidney failure. An effective treatment for kidney disease can help prevent further deterioration of kidney function. Aside from certain medications, doctors will need to monitor a patient’s blood pressure and take blood and urine samples in order to properly manage these medical conditions and assess the health of their kidneys.

Chronic renal impairment can easily cause a complete loss of all kidney function. If a patient does develop end-stage renal failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), there is no cure available to them. The only treatment options available to patients with ESRD are dialysis and kidney transplants. When left untreated, chronic kidney disease is fatal.

Common Treatments for Renal Impairment

Currently, there are a number of treatments that can prevent people with renal impairment from developing ESRD. The treatment options available to kidney disease patients include:

  • Dieting
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Regular exercise
  • Treating any underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension
  • Dialysis
  • Kidney Transplant

Dialysis

Once the kidneys have lost most of their ability to function, dialysis is used to artificially filter out waste products from the patient’s body. There are actually two main types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Then there are also subcategories for both of these main types of dialysis treatment. Please remember that dialysis is not meant to replace the role of prescription medications, so patients with CKD must exercise caution.

Hemodialysis is able to remove excess fluids and wastes from the patient’s blood. The patient’s blood is pumped through the dialysis machine where all wastes are filtered out by the dialyzer, or artificial kidney. A small portion of blood is continually pumped through the dialyzer and back into the body, so that the patient maintains a healthy level within the body at all times.

With peritoneal dialysis (PD), the patient’s blood is actually filtered within the body as opposed to how it’s done with hemodialysis. This method of treatment utilizes the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen) to naturally filter the blood. Doctors pump dialysate (a cleansing fluid) into the patient’s abdomen via a catheter. All waste products and fluids are flitered out of the body through the catheter as well. It actually only takes a very minor surgery to get the catheter in place for peritoneal dialysis. Every few hours, the dialysate is replaced during an exchange process to keep things fresh. Many patients with CKD prefer this form of dialysis as it offers more freedom during treatment, given that they aren’t hooked up to a machine.

Kidney Transplants

The only other treatment option available for people diagnosed with ESRD is to have a kidney transplant, where they will receive a new healthy kidney from either a living or deceased donor. Unfortunately, the waiting list for new kidneys is long and the supply is quite limited. Obviously, a successful kidney transplant will allow for a better quality of life without the need for dialysis. This surgery only takes about three hours to perform, and patients may be required to stay in the hospital for up to a week for recovery. Doctors will also prescribe anti-rejection medications which will need to be taken indefinitely. It is important to note that while this surgery does offer a life of more freedom for patients with kidney failure, there are certain risks associated with kidney transplants.

If you have chronic kidney disease, then you’ll need to discuss your treatment options with your primary health care provider. Remember that end-stage renal failure can be prevented through dieting, exercise, and other treatments that promote better overall kidney health.