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Chronic Kidney Disease

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Treatment Overview

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Treat any complications

As the disease gets worse, your symptoms—such as fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite—may occur more often or become more severe. Work with your doctor to create a treatment plan to help control these symptoms.

If you develop anemia, you may need to take medicine called human recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO). It helps your body make new red blood cells and may help improve your appetite and general sense of well-being.

You may also need an iron supplement if you have an iron deficiency.

If you develop uremic syndrome (uremia), you will need to have wastes and fluids removed through dialysis or your kidney replaced through a kidney transplant.

Treatment for kidney failure

When your kidney function has fallen below a certain point, it is called kidney failure. Kidney failure has harmful effects throughout your body. It can cause serious heart, bone, and brain problems and can make you feel very ill.

After you have kidney failure, either you will need to have dialysis or you will need a new kidney. Both choices have risks and benefits.

Dialysis

Dialysis is a process that does the work of healthy kidneys by clearing wastes and extra fluid from the body and restoring the proper balance of chemicals (electrolytes) in the blood. You may use dialysis for many years, or it may be a short-term measure while you are waiting for a kidney transplant.

To learn more about dialysis, see Other Treatment.

Kidney transplant

Kidney transplant is often a better treatment option than dialysis for kidney failure, because it may allow you to live a fairly normal life. But there are some drawbacks. For example, you will probably need to have dialysis while you wait for a kidney.

To learn more about kidney transplants, see Surgery.

Making treatment decisions when you are very ill is difficult. It is normal to be fearful and worried about the risks involved. Discuss your concerns with your family and your doctor. It may be helpful to visit the dialysis center or transplant center and talk to others who have chosen these options.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 15, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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