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Kidney Failure: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 09, 2021

What is kidney failure?

Kidney failure is the condition where the kidney is incapable of removing these toxins from the blood effectively. The factors that can play into damaging your kidneys are: exposure to toxic elements present in the environment or in medications; either acute or chronic illness, trauma posed to the kidneys, and a severe form of dehydration.

What are the 5 stages of kidney failure?

These are the 5 stages of chronic kidney failure:

Stage 1: During this stage, there is only mild damage to the kidney and no symptoms are seen. But still, if you feel some changes then you should visit the doctor. In stage one if the eGRF is above 90 then the kidney is healthy and working fine. Doctors examine stage one kidney disease by testing the level of protein present in your urine.

These are the things which you should do to slow down stage 1 kidney disease:

  • Keep control over your blood sugar if you are diabetic.
  • Maintaining your blood pressure
  • By keeping a healthy diet
  • No smoking or tobacco
  • Regular exercise
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle and proper weight.

Stage 2: During stage 2 of the kidney disease there are no symptoms and the damage is mild. But you should visit the doctor as soon as possible to prevent further damage. In stage 2 eGRF ranges between 60-89 which means that the kidney is working well and are healthy. But still, you should visit the doctor because, though the eGRF is normal there can be some abnormalities like extra protein content in urine or there can be any physical damage to the kidneys.

These are the things which you should do to slow down the stage 2 kidney disease:

  • Keep control over your blood sugar if you are diabetic.
  • Maintaining your blood pressure
  • By keeping a healthy diet
  • No smoking or tobacco
  • Regular exercise
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle and proper weight.

Stage 3: During stage 3 kidney disease the kidneys are moderately damaged and stop working properly. There are two stages in stage 3 kidney disease which are Stage 3a and Stage 3b. If a person is suffering from stage 3a then the eGFR ranges between 45-59 and if the condition is stage 3b then the eGRF ranges between 30-40.

These are the symptoms of stage 3 kidney disease:

  • Back pain
  • Urination problem
  • Swelling in the hands and feet

Stage 3 kidney disease can create a large number of complications in the body of a person which can be high blood pressure, anemia, and bone disease.

Stage 4: During the 4th stage of kidney disease, the kidneys get damaged severely and they stop working in a proper way. Stage 4 kidney disease should be taken seriously as this becomes the last stage before the complete kidney failure.

If you don’t want the kidney disease to get worse then you should do the following things:

  • Having regular appointments to a nephrologist to get the best treatment
  • Meeting a dietitian so that you follow a proper diet to keep yourself healthy
  • Keeping a check on your blood pressure and diabetes if you are suffering from any.

Stage 5: This means that the kidney disease is in its last stage or are very close to failure.

These are the symptoms of kidney failure:

  • Itching
  • Muscle cramp
  • No hunger
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Back pain
  • Urinating problem
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Trouble in sleeping

Once the kidney is failing then you are prepared for dialysis or kidney transplant.

What are the signs and symptoms of kidney failure?

The symptoms that come with renal or kidney failure are:

Kidney failure or damage can be brought on about by:

Anti-inflammatory drugs can also inhibit the flow of blood to the kidneys.

Other reasons for kidney failure are:

  • Lupus
  • Blood clots around the kidney region
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Multiple myeloma (cancer that grows in the plasma cells of the bone marrow region)
  • Glomerulonephritis (swelling of the kidney blood vessels)
  • Scleroderma and some antibiotics.

Some factors that can contribute to urination difficulties and ultimately build up to kidney failure are; blood clots in the urinary tract region, kidney stones, injury to the nerves controlling the bladder and or an enlarged prostrate.

What color is urine when your kidneys are failing?

One of the most ignored components of health measurement is the color of your urine. It tells a lot about your kidney health. Here are some color indications that can tell you about kidney health:

  • Clear or pale yellow color states that your kidney is functioning perfectly and your body is fully hydrated. It may be odorless to mild odor, which also depends on your intake in the past 24 hrs.
  • Dark yellow or amber color indicates dehydration or consumption of excess sugar or caffeine in the last 24 hrs. This is a warning sign that you should take care of your body but does not cause any medical emergency.
  • Orange can be a sign of bile juice infused in the kidney. This can be discomforting if not treated on time. Another reason why your urine is orange is severe dehydration which is also not a good sign.
  • Pink or red color can be either a side effect of eating too much red or pink-colored foods like beetroot or strawberry or either can be a sign of blood in your urine. Consult your doctor if your diet doesn't include any red-colored food within 24 hrs.
  • Foamy urine can be a sign of kidney disease. It can also be a sign of excess protein which can also cause massive liver damage.

What causes kidney failure?

Kidney failure occurs when the organ is completely damaged and there can be several causes or conditions for the failure of the kidney, which include:

  1. Less blood flow in the kidney:

    If there is a sudden loss of blood in the kidney or blood stops flowing in the kidney then it promotes kidney failure. There can be Some more conditions that accompany kidney failure, which include: heart attack, heart disease, dehydration, burning sensation, allergic reactions, severe infection, liver failure or scarring of the liver.

  2. Urine elimination problem:

    Our body eliminates toxic and acidic substances from the body in the form of urine. But when this urine starts accumulating in the body and is not able to go out it creates a pressure on the kidneys and overloads it. This can cause kidney failure and even some kind of cancer.

  3. Some of the diseases also create a hindrance in urine passage, which includes:

    Prostate, colon, cervical, bladder.

  4. There can be other conditions as well which can create a hindrance in urination:

    Kidney stone, enlarged prostate, blood clot in the urinary tract, or any kind of damage in the urinary tract.

  5. There can be some other issues as well:

    • Infection in your kidney
    • Drugs or alcohol
    • Overload of toxins in the kidney
    • Antibiotics
    • Unmanaged Diabetes
    • Chemotherapy drugs

How long do you have to live if you have Kidney Failure?

Depending upon the stage of failure and the patient's physical and mental strength, one can determine the recovery rate, especially the life expectancy.

They may survive for weeks without dialysis or survive for a few days with dialysis, it totally depends on each individual medical condition.

How long can you live with end-stage kidney failure?

If a person suffers from kidney failure and does not go for dialysis then he/she may live for about a year. But if a patient stops dialysis then he/she may die within one week or two.


How is kidney failure treatment done?

There are four options of treatment that a patient can choose from:

  1. Haemodialysis:

    It is a treatment method which makes use of a machine to carry the blood out from the body via a filter, thereby removing toxic wastes and the excess amount of fluid. This method helps to keep in check the blood pressure levels and balance out the quantity of essential minerals in the blood such as calcium, potassium, sodium and bicarbonate.

    In this method the doctor will create an access point in the vessels to filter out a huge quantity of blood every treatment session. Blood will be carried back to the body with the help of a separate filter. Although Hemodialysis cannot cure the problem of kidney failure it can surely offer temporary relief.

  2. Peritoneal dialysis

    This method makes use of the belly lining to filter the blood in the body and eliminate wastes in the process. Like Hemodialysis the purpose of this method is to filter the toxic wastes and excess fluid from the body with the help of the peritoneum lining of the belly. In this method the surgeon will insert a tube in the belly only a few weeks before the beginning of treatment. The catheter or tube will permanently remain in the belly.

    During the treatment a dialysis solution will be transferred into the belly through the tube from a bag. This solution remains in your body and soaks up the toxic chemicals and excess fluid. After some time the dialysis solution will be let out from the body via the tube/catheter. This process called the exchange will be repeated a number of times.

  3. Kidney transplantation:

    It is a surgery which places a healthy kidney in place of the damaged one. This new kidney is gathered from either a dead person or from a living person. In the former case, the kidney is called a deceased donor kidney and the latter a living donor kidney. The transplanted kidney is placed by the surgeon in the lower part of the abdominal region and is connected to the artery.

  4. Conservative management method:

    The fourth and last method which emphasizes on using drugs instead of a dialysis or transplantation, in order to treat the reasons for kidney failure such as the condition of anemia.

Who is eligible for the treatment?

People who have reached the end stage of kidney failure where the patient is losing about 80 percent of their kidney functioning capabilities and are having a glomerular filtration rate of 15 and above are eligible to go for a dialysis treatment (either haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis). Those who are suffering from chronic kidney failure and are already on dialysis treatment can go for a kidney transplantation surgery.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Patients who are more than 70 years of age and diagnosed to be in the advanced stage of kidney failure are not eligible for a conservative management treatment option. For them a dialysis or transplantation treatment is necessary.

Can Kidney Failure be cured?

In the case of Kidney Failure, there is no cure. However medical science has developed certain treatments and medications that can help you decrease your symptoms.

The mode of treatment totally depends on the stage your kidneys are at, it also determines the recovery rate.

Can kidneys repair themselves?

Yes, if the kidney is healthy enough to regenerate it will. In the early stages of Kidney Failure, the damage is mild to moderate which can be recovered with the help of medication, therapy, a healthy diet, and home remedies.

Are there any side effects?

The common side effects of haemodialysis treatment are infections such as sepsis, low blood pressure, itchiness, hernia, weight gain, muscle cramps and peritonitis. The side effects that patients mostly suffer from after undergoing Dianeal PD-1 or Peritoneal Dialysis solution are bleeding, peritonitis, catheter blockage, abdominal cramps, infections around the area where the catheter was inserted, high or low blood volume in the body.

A kidney transplant surgery can lead to the rise of various complications such as infections, blood clots, bleeding, leaking or blockage of the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder, death, heart attacks or a possible stroke. The donated kidney might also fail or be rejected. Patients are prescribed a number of drugs to prevent the body’s reaction to reject the donated kidney. These anti-rejection drugs resultantly cause some side effects such as high blood pressure, weight gain, high cholesterol, acne, osteoporosis and osteonecrosis, increased hair growth or increased hair fall and edema (puffiness).

You can also opt for ayurvedic treatment of kidney failure. for side effects free treatment.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

When undergoing kidney transplant surgery you will be required to follow certain post-treatment guidelines. After the surgery you will be required to spend around five to seven days on a transplant unit. You will also be kept under observation in case of any infection and rejection of the donor kidney by the body. At this time you will need to take a number of anti-rejection drugs as a precautionary measure against these possibilities.

How long does it take to recover?

The time for recovery from a kidney dialysis treatment varies for every patient and is usually somewhere between 2 hours to 12 hours. In other cases it can take even longer.

For those who have gone for kidney transplantation the recovery time for a patient is about three to eight weeks after which a person can resume normal activities. Any intense form of exercise as well as lifting of heavy objects is recommended to a patient who has had kidney transplantation only after six weeks.

What is the cost of kidney failure treatment in India?

The cost of a haemodialysis treatment is about 12-15, 000 Indian rupees per month where they have to go for 12 haemodialysis sessions every month. In the case of peritoneal dialysis it takes about 18- 20,000 rupees every month. For a kidney transplant surgery it takes about 2-3 lakhs every years. And anti-rejection drugs cost about 1000-2000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

For dialysis there is no guarantee that the results of it will be permanent. For people who are above 70 years of age and those who are already in the advanced stage of Chronic kidney disorder might have to go for kidney transplantation in case the dialysis treatments or the conservative management treatments fail. Similarly, those who have had kidney transplantation stand the chance of facing donor kidney rejection by the body.

How to prevent kidney failure?

These are the measures that can be taken for kidney prevention: If you are taking any medication then you must follow the instructions and do not take medicine in too high dose as it can make the level of toxins in the body very high. Thus this makes the kidney overloaded and can cause kidney failure.

You should manage your kidney properly because most of the kidney failure happens when management is not done properly. You can adopt the following measures in order to manage your kidney:

  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Taking your doctor’s advice seriously
  • Not overdosing the medication and taking them as prescribed
  • Keeping your blood pressure and diabetes under control

What is the best diet for persons suffering from kidney failure?

This is the best diet for people suffering from kidney failure:

  • People must avoid table salt or sodium intake in the body
  • Instead of salt people must try other spices and herbs
  • Packaged food should not be eaten as it contains a high level of sodium content.
  • Rinse the canned vegetables properly before eating.

Is drinking a lot of water good for your kidneys?

One of the most common misconceptions about the consumption of water is its quantity. Eight glasses of water do not work for everyone, everyone's water needs are different.

In case of Kidney Failure, drinking less water is better. With each stage your capacity to filter diminish making the liquid hard to process. So it is advisable to drink water as per the doctor's recommendation, especially in the case dialysis water is a great restriction.

Can baking soda reverse Kidney Failure?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, recently discovered a helping hand to speed up the recovery process in case of Kidney Failure. Baking soda reduces the damage speed and reduces the chances of getting dialysis.

In terms of side effects, baking soda does not show any further damage in any other organ, even in the patient with higher blood pressure.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

In case you are diagnosed with Chronic kidney disorder you may be able to follow certain home remedies as an alternative to medical treatment should you not want to go for it. The doctor will prescribe you to adopt a special diet where you will be asked to avoid food items with salt. Also, you will be asked to limit protein intake per day. And you should also take food items that are low in potassium.

How can I repair my kidneys naturally?

There are several ways through which one can keep your kidney healthy:

  • Stay hydrated, drink enough water to keep your kidney function properly. As per some studies, the general amount of water that is suitable for an average healthy adult is 8 glasses of water, however, each individual has their own needs and individual functioning.
  • Eating right, avoiding foods with excess sugar, caffeine, spices, and oil can keep your kidney happy. Eating a lot of fresh foods and vegetables will also do the trick.
  • Avoid excess oral pills and multivitamins can be hard to pass, resulting in kidney stones or dehydration.
  • Exercise regularly will keep your body function healthy. Excess weight can increase your blood pressure causing pressure on your kidneys. It also helps your immune system run smoothly which keeps external bacteria away.
Summary: Kidney Failure can be described as a fatal condition caused by underlying medical conditions that cause damage to the kidney making it difficult to process liquids. Even though there is no treatment for it, one can manage the symptoms via medical help and home remedies.


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