End stage kidney disease (or end stage renal disease, ESRD) is the most severe form of renal insufficiency. Chronic renal insufficiency sometimes, despite treatment, progresses to the extent that the kidneys can no longer maintain patient’s life. And sometimes, even a small urinary tract infections may also be the reason why chronic insufficiency will become end stage.
The importance of the kidney in maintaining the health is best revealed by the many symptoms that occur once the end stage kidney disease occurs. The patient may experience many of the following symptoms, if not all: malaise, weakness, headache, unpleasant breath odor, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, accumulation of water in the lungs (which will cause shortness of breath) and directly below the skin (which can be seen as swelling), pain in the chest and in bones, and intense itching of the skin (though without a rash). Women may miss menstrual periods.
Terminal renal insufficiency is rare.
As we already said, end stage kidney disease will develop in a person who is already treated due to previous chronic insufficiency, so the doctor will ask his patient to let him know if he/she spots signs of any illness or change.
Therapy is specifically adapted to the condition of each individual patient. Many symptoms of ESRD can be alleviated by medication, though not long. Since kidney damage is irreversibly, the only treatment that will yield satisfactory results is a replacement of the kidney with the device (or with a new kidney) that will take over the function of the replaced (damaged) kidney. This means dialysis or transplantation of a healthy kidney in the body (if necessary, one kidney can always perform “work” of both the kidneys).
We must not forget that dialysis and transplantation can not be applied in all cases; these methods rarely apply to older people.
End stage kidney disease is no longer a disease that quickly causes death. Statistics show that more than 50% of patients with ESRD live a relatively normal life for five years after the onset of the disease. A good number of recipients of transplanted kidneys still live and their health condition in good for about ten years after the kidney transplant.