End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

End Stage Renal Disease occurs when the kidneys lose function to the point where they cannot keep you healthy and feeling well on their own. People with ESRD need dialysis or a kidney transplant. We offer dialysis services in Pendleton, Easley, Greenville, Greer, Lyman, Simpsonville, and Laurens.

Causes

The most common causes of ESRD are diabetes and high blood pressure, but there are other causes as well. These include cystic diseases, vasculitis, lupus, drug reactions, tumors, and others.

Symptoms

Kidney failure may not be noticeable at first because signs and symptoms are similar to other illnesses. Over time, you may see effects caused from the body retaining water such as swelling in the face, ankles, legs, and throughout the body.

Other symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A general sense of discomfort and unease
  • Feeling very tired and weak
  • Headaches that seem unrelated to any other cause
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Metallic taste
  • Yellow to brown skin
  • Persistent itching
  • Pain below the rib cage

Treatments

There are several options for treating kidney failure.

  1. Hemodialysis
  2. Peritoneal dialysis
  3. Kidney transplant

Ask your doctor which treatment would be best for you. We support all options for patients who have failing kidneys and work with you to find the best solution to your dialysis needs. We offer personalized and group classes on Kidney Options for dialysis and on Chronic Kidney Disease.

Dialysis Payment Options

Treatment can be expensive, but Medicare and Medicaid pay for most of the cost, usually up to 80 percent. Often, private insurance or state programs pay the rest. For more information, see the NIDDK fact sheet Financial Help for Treatment of Kidney Failure.

Things to Remember

  • Your kidneys filter wastes from your blood and regulate other functions of your body.
  • When your kidneys fail, you need treatment to replace the work your kidneys normally perform.
  • Your three choices for treatment are hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and kidney transplantation.
  • The choice you make will affect your diet, your ability to work, and other lifestyle options.
  • You have the right to refuse or withdraw from treatment if you choose.
  • Medicare and Medicaid pay much of the cost of treatment for kidney failure.