Understanding End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

The Facts on ESRD

ESRD, or kidney failure, is the final stage of chronic kidney disease. It is defined as the condition in which your kidneys lose 90% or more of their total function. Your kidneys play an extremely important role in filtering your blood. When they fail, you are at much higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. (1)

Risk Factors & Strategies to Reduce Your Risk

The Factors Following have been Shown to Increase Your Risk for ESRD

Modifiable Factors: The following actions are controllable, and therefore should be avoided as consistently as possible. It is important to focus on these lifestyle changes in order to help offset the risk factors that are uncontrollable!

Non-Modifiable Factors: The following cannot be changed. However, these factors are important to know, so you can be cognizant of your lifestyle choices and understand the circumstances!

Help Reduce Your Risk For ESRD with these Choices

Symptoms & Prognosis

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleep problems
  • Changes in how much you urinate
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Persistent itching
  • Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
  • Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) that’s difficult to control

Adults with Severe Kidney Disease that Don't Know

5-Year Survival Rate


2/5 adults with severe kidney disease do not even know they have kidney disease. At severe stages of kidney disease (3-4), there are a number of steps that can be taken to prevent progression to complete failure of the kidneys. With only a limited survival rate of patients with kidney failure, it is important you know what steps to take to prevent your case from progressing.

What to Expect on Dialysis

Treatments for ESRD

  • Dialysis: The process of filtering your blood through a machine to carry out the function of your kidneys. Treatment is considered lifelong unless a kidney transplant is possible.
  • Kidney Transplant: If eligible, you can be put on a waiting list for a kidney transplant from an ideal donor.
  • ESRD is not reversible, so these interventions are 100% necessary. Kidney transplant has better long-term survival rates and should be strongly considered if you are eligible.