Kidney disease can get worse over time, and may lead to kidney failure. Kidney failure means very advanced kidney damage with less than 15% normal function. Most people with kidney failure have symptoms from the build up of waste products and extra water in their body. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is kidney failure treated by dialysis or kidney transplant.
If the kidneys fail, treatment options such as dialysis or a kidney transplant can help people live longer and healthier lives. If your kidneys fail, talk with your health care provider about choosing a treatment that is right for you. Learn about what you can do to prepare for kidney failure and treatment.
The treatment options for kidney failure are dialysis or a kidney transplant. Since the kidneys no longer work well enough to maintain health, the goal is to find a treatment that can replace kidney function. Dialysis and kidney transplants are treatments—not cures—for kidney failure.
Not all treatments are right for all people. Be sure to talk to your provider and other health professionals to figure out the best kidney failure treatment plan for you. The right choice depends on your medical condition, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
No matter which treatment you choose, you'll need to make some changes in your life, including how you eat and plan your activities. With the help of your health care team, family, and friends, you can lead a full, active life.
Although patients with kidney failure are now living longer than ever, over time kidney failure can cause problems such as heart disease, bone disease, nerve damage, infertility, and malnutrition. Talk to your health care provider about these complications and how they can be treated.
Find more information on kidney failure treatment options.
Page last updated: March 1, 2012