End-Stage Renal Disease Symptoms & Causes

When the gradual loss of kidney function reaches an advanced state, a patient will experience end-stage renal disease. At this stage, the kidneys are no longer working as they should and will fail to meet the body’s needs to filter out waste and excess fluids from the blood.


For a patient to stay alive, dialysis or kidney transplant is one solution. But a patient can also opt for conservative care as a way to manage symptoms. This way, they can still enjoy the best quality of life even with their condition.


What are the Symptoms of End-Stage Renal Disease?

Symptoms of advanced chronic kidney disease can run from something annoying such as nausea to something more alarming such as chest pain.


Because the signs and symptoms can be caused by other illness, it can be difficult to associate directly with kidney disease.


A patient may experience any of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Decreased sharpness of the mind
  • Feet and ankle swelling
  • Cramps and twitching of muscles
  • Difficult to control high blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent itching


A patient may also experience changes in the way they urinate.


If you or someone you know has kidney disease, it is important to visit your doctor regularly than to wait for these symptoms to manifest. Because when they do, it is possible that the damage to your kidney has become irreversible.


Due to the kidney’s high adaptability and ability to compensate for functions lost, signs and symptoms are unlikely to surface unless kidney disease has advanced.


What Causes End-Stage Renal Disease?

Damage to the kidney can be caused by other diseases and conditions.

  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease. This is because it injures small blood vessels found in the body, including those in the kidneys. This results in the organ unable to properly clean the blood.
  • High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure because it damages blood vessels needed to help filter the body’s waste and extra fluids. Uncontrolled high blood pressure will also lead to arteries around the kidneys hardening, narrowing, or weakening over time.
  • Glomerulonephritis happens when the glomeruli or the filtering units of the kidney become inflamed. The damage can result in kidney failure.
  • Interstitial nephritis is a kidney condition where the kidney tubules swell. Because the tubules help get rid of the body’s waste, inflammation and damage to them will result in mild to severe kidney symptoms.
  • Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes multiple cysts to develop and grow within the kidney. This is a result of the renal tubes becoming structurally abnormal.
  • Urinary tract obstruction is anything that inhibits the flow of urine through the urinary tract, such as an enlarged prostate. The blockage and elevated pressure can damage the kidney over time.
  • Vesicoureteral reflux causes urine to flow back to either one or both kidneys or either one or both ureters. This leads to bacterial moving into the kidney and causing scarring.
  • Kidney infection can damage the kidney permanently when not given prompt medical attention. Imagine its effect if it’s recurrent.


There are ways to slow down the progress of kidney disease to end-stage renal disease. Consult your doctor about them.


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