To learn more about tests, see Exams and Tests.
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
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.
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 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 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.
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.
your disease gets worse, you may want to think about
palliative care. Palliative care is a kind of care for
people who have diseases that don't go away and that often get worse over time. It
is different from care to cure your illness, called curative treatment.
Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life-not just in your
body but also in your mind and spirit. Some people combine palliative care
with curative care, but usually this means they don't want dialysis treatments
in order to sustain their lives.
Palliative care may help you
manage symptoms or side effects from treatment. It could also help you cope
with your feelings about living with a long-term disease, make future plans
around your medical care, or help your family better understand your disease
and how to support you.