Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Our kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in the urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes can build up in your body.
In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, patients may have few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired. Signs and symptoms of kidney disease are in most cases nonspecific, meaning they can also be caused by other illnesses. Additionally, signs and symptoms of kidney disease may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred. Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease develop over time. Some include:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in how much you urinate
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sleep problems
- Decreased mental sharpness
- Muscle twitches and cramps
Stages of the Illness
While there is typically no cure for CKD, there are treatments that can help. Chronic kidney disease is divided into 5 stages based on the level of kidney function, with stage 1 being minimal loss of kidney function to stage 5 classified as kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a transplant. Kidney disease is a progressive disease, meaning that kidney function can continue to decline over time, eventually resulting in kidney failure.
When is it time to contact Capital Caring?
When a person chooses to end dialysis treatments, Capital Caring provides supportive care to keep the patient comfortable and to help control end-stage kidney failure symptoms.
Benefits of Hospice and Palliative Care at Capital Caring
The team at Capital Caring works alongside your physician to develop a plan of care for end-stage kidney patients. A team of doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, volunteers, and bereavement counselors support both the patient and their families. Hospice care services for kidney failure patients can be provided in home, at an assisted living facility, a hospital as the patient prefers – or wherever the patient calls home.
If the patient does not yet qualify for hospice, palliative care support is also available.
Visit www.capitalcaring.org or call 800-869-2136 for more information or to make a referral.