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Chapter 7 - When and If My Kidneys Fail

23 January 2022

If my kidneys begin to fail, what are some of the signs?
Being aware of changes to your body can help your healthcare team give you the treatment you need to feel your best. Below is a brief outline of some of the most common symptoms. Remember, many of the symptoms we describe can also be related to other health conditions. Only your doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis. We encourage you to discuss this list and any of our similarities with your doctor.

  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, face and/or hands
  • Change in urination- changes in color and frequency, presence of blood, increased difficulty
  • Chills
  • Lower back pain
  • Unexpected rash or itching of skin
  • Lack of energy- fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems breathing- a shortness of breath
  • Difficulty concentrating, dizziness and problems with your memory
  • Waking at night more often
  • Decreased urine output
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure

What types of treatment options are there?
Hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and transplantation. Dialysis is a medical word that means cleaning the blood by “artificial means.” During dialysis, wastes and extra fluid that build up with kidney failure are removed from the blood.
A person can receive a kidney transplant from another person (a donor) through surgery. The kidney is placed in your abdomen. The transplanted kidney will do the work your original kidneys did.