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Kidney DiseaseKidney Disease Resource Center: Lifestyle Tips, Organizations & Treatment Options

Commonly asked questions about kidney disease:

What is Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease, also known as kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from the blood excreted in urine. As stages of kidney disease advance, electrolytes and wastes eventually lead to a build-up within your body.

Kidneys clean your blood, keep the balance of salt and minerals in your blood stabilized, as well as control blood pressure levels. When kidneys are damaged, however, waste products and fluid build up in the body and may cause weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. If not treated properly, diseased kidneys may eventually stop functioning altogether.

What are the Types of Kidney Disease?

Acute Prerenalinsufficient blood flow to the kidneys is the main cause for this type of kidney disease. Kidneys aren’t able to filter toxins from the blood without enough flow, and can only be cured once the cause of decreased blood flow is determined.
Acute IntrinsicDirect kidney trauma is one of the largest causes for acute intrinsic kidney failure. This can also include toxin overload and ischemia (a lack of oxygen in the kidneys). Shock, severe bleeding, and renal blood vessel obstruction can influence acute intrinsic kidney disease to form.
Chronic PrerenalWhen there is a blood shortage to the kidneys for an extended period, kidneys begin to shrink and lose the ability to function properly.
Chronic IntrinsicLong-term damage to the kidneys is due to intrinsic kidney disease. This is caused by direct trauma to the kidneys such as lack of oxygen or severe bleeding.
Chronic Post-RenalA long-term blockage of urinary tracts that prevent urination, causes pressure and eventual damage to the kidney.

Kidney Disease Treatment Options

Kidney disease is progressive, meaning that the damage in the kidneys tends to be permanent. Therefore, it is important to identify kidney disease early before later and more dangerous stages. Taking precautionary measures such as monitoring blood glucose levels, controlling blood pressure, and medicines including ACEIs (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) and ARBs (angiotosin receptor blockers) may help prevent kidney disease from developing.

Kidney disease complications may be controlled to make the patient feel more comfortable within everyday life.

  • High blood pressure medications: High blood pressure may be one of the symptoms people with kidney disease are capable of experiencing. ACEIs are commonly prescribed to preserve regular kidney function. High blood pressure medications can initially decrease kidney function and electrolyte levels; frequent blood tests may be needed to monitor your condition.
  • Medications to lower cholesterol levels: Statins, medications made to lower cholesterol levels, may be recommended by your doctor to reduce high levels of cholesterol, which can often lead to a higher risk of heart disease.
  • Medications to treat anemia: In certain situations, supplements of the hormone erythropoietin are recommended to be used with added iron. These aid the production of more red blood cells, and relieve fatigue and weaknesses related to anemia.
  • Medications to relieve swelling: Retaining fluids are common for people with chronic kidney disease and can lead to swelling in the legs, as well as high blood pressure. Medication called diuretics may help maintain the balance of fluids within your body.
  • Medications to protect bone strength: Calcium and vitamin D supplements are often prescribed by doctors in order to prevent weak bones and lower the risk of fracture. Phosphate binder is also a common prescription, which will allow a lower amount of phosphate to be present in your blood and protect blood vessels from damage by calcium deposits.
  • Lower protein diet: As blood processes protein from foods, it creates waste products that kidneys must filter from your blood. In order to reduce the amount of work your kidneys must do, your doctor may recommend eating less protein.

End-stage Treatment Options

Treatment for kidney disease varies depending on the chronic stage the patient is in. End-stage treatment includes dialysis or a kidney transplant.

  • Dialysis: Dialysis artificially removes waste products and extra fluid from blood when kidneys are no longer capable. A hemodialysis machine filters waste and excess fluid from your blood and allows it to drain from your body.
  • Kidney Transplant: A kidney transplant involves a surgical procedure that involves placing a healthy kidney from a donor into your body; transplanted kidneys can come from diseased or living donors. Medications will be needed for the rest of your life in order to keep your body from rejecting the new organ.

Kidney Disease Organizations

American Kidney Fund (AKF)

Mission: To fight kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need, health education, and prevention efforts. Services for this organization include advocacy and public policy by continuing medical education (CME), free kidney health screenings, and publications for patients resources.

Contact

  • 11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300 Rockville, MD 20852
  • Phone: 1–800–638–8299
  • Internet: www.kidneyfund.org

American Prostate Society

Mission: To increase knowledge of all three prostate diseases plus erectile dysfunction through quarterly newsletters and responding to individual questions or requests for help.

Contact

American Society of Transplantation (AST)

Mission: To advance the field of transplantation and improve patient care by promoting research, education, advocacy, and organ donation. Services include advocacy and public policy, educational programs and events for health care providers, and publications for health care providers and patients.

Contact

  • 15000 Commerce Parkway, Suite C Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
  • Phone: 856–439–9986 Fax: 856–439–9982
  • Email: info@myAST.org
  • Internet: www.myast.org

American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS)

Mission: To foster and advance the practice and science of transplantation for the benefit of patients and society; guide those who make the policy decisions that influence the practice and science of transplantation; increase organ donation; define and promote training and the career-long education of transplant surgeons, scientists, and physicians; and advance the professional development and careers of transplant surgeons, scientists, and physicians. Services include Advocacy and public policy, continuing medical education (CME) educational programs and events for health care providers, as well as publications for health care providers and patients.

Contact

  • 2461 South Clark Street, Suite 640 Arlington, VA 22202
  • Phone: 703–414–7870
  • Fax: 703–414–7874
  • Email: asts@asts.org
  • Internet: www.asts.org

International Transplant Nurses Society (ITNS)

Mission: To promote excellence in transplant clinical nursing through the provision of educational and professional growth opportunities, interdisciplinary networking and collaborative activities, and nursing research. Services include educational programs and events for health care providers, publications for health care providers and patients as well.

Contact

  • 8735 West Higgins Road, Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631
  • Phone: 847–375–6340 Fax: 847–375–6341
  • Email: info@itns.org
  • Internet: www.itns.org

Kidney & Urology Foundation of America

Mission: To provide care and support of patients, address the concerns of those at risk, educate the community and medical professionals, develop methods of prevention, and improve treatment options.

Contact

  • 2 West 47th Street, Suite 401 New York NY 10036
  • Phone: 1–800–633–6628 or 212–629–9770
  • Fax: 212–629–5652
  • Internet: www.kidneyurology.org

Kidney Cancer Association (KCA)

Mission: To fund, promote, and collaborate with the National Cancer Institute, American Society for Clinical Oncology, American Urological Association, and other institutions on research projects to educate families and physicians, and serve as an advocate on behalf of patients at the state and federal levels. Services include educational programs and events for health care providers, publications for health care providers and patients, and a support group locator.

Contact

Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO)

Mission: To improve the care and outcomes of kidney disease patients worldwide through promoting coordination, collaboration, and integration of initiatives to develop and implement clinical practice guidelines. Services include: Clinical practice guidelines and publications for health care providers Resources.

Contact

NATCO (formerly the North American Transplant Coordinators Organization)

Mission: To support, develop, and advance the knowledge and practice of its members and to influence the effectiveness, quality, and integrity of donation and transplantation. Services include advocacy and public policy, certification activities, continuing education activities, educational programs, meetings, and events for health care providers, as well as publications for health care providers.

Contact

National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP)

Mission: To reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by kidney disease and its complications and to raise awareness of the seriousness of kidney disease, the importance of testing those at high risk — those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure — and the availability of treatment to prevent or slow kidney failure. Services include information for the media, publications for patients, health care providers, and laboratory professionals.

Contact

National Kidney Foundation (NKF)

Mission: To prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation. Services include advocacy and public policy, continuing medical education (CME) educational programs and events for health care providers, publications for patients, health care providers, and laboratory professionals public service announcements (PSAs). Publications for patients, health care providers, and laboratory professionals are also provided within this organization.

Contact

  • 30 East 33rd Street New York, NY 10016–5337
  • Phone: 1–800–622–9010 or 212–889–2210
  • Fax: 212–689–9261
  • Internet: www.kidney.org

International Kidney Disease Organizations

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