Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which there is permanent damage to your kidneys, often caused by another disease like diabetes or high blood pressure. The kidneys no longer work well enough to keep you healthy.
In the beginning you may not notice that you are suffering from chronic kidney disease, because the early signs can be very subtle. It can take many years to go from chronic kidney disease to kidney failure, where dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to support life. Since it may be possible to slow down the progression of the disease, it's vital to get an early diagnosis and work closely with your doctor to decide on the best medication and to discuss the diet and lifestyle changes that may reduce your symptoms and slow down your disease. The longer you can keep your kidneys working, the better.
At a later stage, when the kidneys completely lose their function, kidney replacement therapy becomes necessary for you to live and stay healthy. If you have recently been diagnosed with end stage renal disease, you may be wondering about your options. The more you and your loved ones know about kidney failure and the treatment options open to you when you reach that point, the more you can take an active role in your care. Understanding your options is good for your overall health and well-being, because you’ll be able to work with your doctor and nurses to make an informed decision about which treatment would suit you best.
You’ll see that the goal of each type of treatment is to perform the functions of healthy kidneys. It’s not always easy to decide which treatment will be best; the decision depends on your medical condition, your lifestyle and your personal likes and dislikes. The key is to learn as much about your treatment options as possible so that you can discuss them with your health care team.