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.
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. It can be used at any point in the course of your kidney disease. Some people combine palliative care
with curative care.
Palliative care professionals work with you and your doctor to help manage symptoms or side effects related to blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, or other conditions. Palliative care can help you sort out your feelings about living with kidney disease and about your treatment choices. It can help your family
better understand your disease and how to support you.
If you are interested in palliative care,
talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to manage your care or refer you to
a doctor who specializes in this type of care.
information, see the topic
Chronic kidney disease progresses to
kidney failure when damage to the kidneys is so severe
dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to control
symptoms and prevent complications and death. Many people have successful
kidney transplants or live for years using dialysis. But at this point you may
wish to talk with your family and doctor about health care and other legal
issues that arise near the end of life.
A time may come when your
goals or the goals of your loved ones may change from treating or curing your
disease to maintaining comfort and dignity. You may find it helpful and
comforting to state your health care choices in writing (with an
advance directive such as a living will) while you are
still able to make and communicate these decisions. Think about your treatment
options and which kind of treatment will be best for you.
You may wish to write
durable power of attorney or choose a
health care agent, usually a family member or loved
one, to make and carry out decisions about your care if you become unable to
speak for yourself. You also have the option to refuse or stop treatment. For
more information, see the topic
Care at the End of Life.