Expected Duration of Kidney Failure

By  , Expert Content
Jun 19, 2012

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Kidney failure is a medical condition in which the kidneys lose their ability to remove waste products from the blood and regulate the body's balance of salt and water. If kidney failure is severe,  production of urine becomes less or stops completely. This leads to accumulation of waste products and water in the body and symptoms due to their accumulation.

Kidney failure (also called renal failure) can be categorised as:

  • acute renal failure
  • chronic kidney disease (chronic renal failure)
  • end-stage renal disease.

Expected duration of kidney failure

Acute renal failure: Many cases with acute renal failure improve rapidly with the start of renal supportive treatment and by controlling or stopping the underlying cause such as stopping the medication or reversing whatever caused the situation. Duration of illness varies considerably from person to person and is affected by factors such as the cause of the kidney problem and the duration of renal failure before treatment is started. Rarely does acute kidney failure progress to end-stage renal disease.

Chronic renal failure: Chronic kidney failure or chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a lifelong problem and it tends to get worse gradually over months or years. It can progress to end-stage kidney failure (stage 5 CKD) that requires kidney dialysis or kidney transplant. The rate of progression is variable and depends on several factors including the severity of any underlying condition, associated medical problems and treatment. The rate of progression of CKD to end-stage kidney failure, however, can be prevented or slowed by:

  • treating the cause of kidney damage (such as hypertension, diabetes) aggressively
  • taking your prescribed medications for blood pressure control and to protect your kidneys
  • eating diet low in salt (sodium), fluids and protein and
  • regularly following-up with your doctor to assess the effectiveness of your treatment and kidney function.

End-stage renal disease: This is a permanent condition, which will lead to death if it is not treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant.



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