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What is Renal Failure?

By J.Gunsch
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Renal failure is a serious medical condition affecting the kidneys. When a person suffers from this condition, their kidneys are not functioning properly or no longer work at all. Renal failure can be a progressive disease or a temporary one depending on the cause and available treatment options.

The kidneys are glands that are located in the abdominal region just above the pelvis on either side of the body. When functioning normally, the kidneys separate and filter excess water and waste from the blood stream. The kidneys are responsible for producing urine, which is used to flush away the toxins. The kidneys also maintain a healthy balance of fluids and electrolytes, or salt compounds, in the body.

In renal failure the kidneys undergo cellular death and are unable to filter wastes, produce urine and maintain fluid balances. This dysfunction causes a build up of toxins in the body which can affect the blood, brain and heart, as well as other complications. Kidney failure is very serious and even deadly if left untreated.

There are two types of kidney failure: acute and chronic. Acute renal failure occurs suddenly and is usually initiated by underlying causes, like dehydration, infection, serious injury to the kidney or the chronic use of over the counter pain medications like Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen). Acute failure is often reversible with no lasting damage.

Chronic kidney failure is more serious than the acute version because symptoms may not appear until the kidneys are extremely damaged. Chronic kidney failure can be caused by other long term diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Chronic kidney failure can worsen over time, especially when the problem has gone undiagnosed and treatment is delayed.

The symptoms of kidney failure include edema, which is an accumulation of fluid characterized by swelling, and a decrease in urination. Other symptoms may include a general ill feeling, exhaustion and headaches. Often, a person with this condition does not experience any symptoms.

With treatment, a person with kidney failure can live a relatively normal life. Depending on the severity of kidney failure, renal function may be restored by treating the primary disease that is responsible for the damage, or by treating the kidneys with medication. In severe cases of renal failure, a person might require dialysis and a kidney transplant.

To undergo renal dialysis, the patient must be connected to a machine that mechanically filters the blood. Dialysis does not treat this condition, but instead keeps a person alive by performing the crucial functions of the kidneys. A person may have to undergo dialysis as often as several times a day or as little as once weekly, depending on the severity of the condition. A person with acute, reversible renal failure may need dialysis while the kidneys recover.

When the kidneys fail completely, the patient will need a kidney transplant. Fortunately, human beings can function with only one kidney, so relatives and other living donors are an option. This reduces the need for deceased donors that is common with other organ transplants and requires long waiting lists. However, it is necessary to find a donor that has a similar tissue and blood type, which means that finding a kidney may still be difficult. Most people who need a kidney transplant must also be on dialysis until a match is found.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon989328 — On Mar 02, 2015

My husband is a 71 year old paraplegic and had a botox injection for his bladder, now he isn't able to get his bladder to drain more than 200cc every four to six hours. We don't know what to do.

By langlois — On Jan 03, 2014

@post no. 40: I am in end stage Kidney failure. My nephrologist has suggested that I search and ask my family members to be live donors for me for a kidney. I am a good candidate as I do not drink, smoke and was in generally good health until my kidney started to fail on me.

I have the odds for a successful transplant. When I saw that you wanted to donate one of yours, I was so excited! It just warms my heart to know that there are people like you out there who realize the gift that they have for people like myself and others.

I live in British Columbia but I know that they pay all expenses, if you still are wanting to donate either to me or to someone else. My GFR just dropped to 11 so I will be starting dialysis soon and will stay on it until a donor can be found. I hope I don't have to wait too long! This is all so scary for me but it is good to know that I am not alone.

Please feel free to message me if you need any information. Here in British Columbia, the donor only has four holes -- no big incisions. I hope you or others are able to share your gifts of life. God bless you!

By anon923858 — On Dec 30, 2013

My mother passed away at age 74, in November 2013, two days before Thanksgiving. She had diabetes for over 35 years. My Mom also had congestive heart failure and chronic kidney disease, which are all byproducts of diabetes. She got gout symptoms a day before her 74th birthday and had a second bout several weeks later. The medication colcrys was prescribed both times, which now we know is too strong for a person with CHF and kidney failure. My Mom died two months after these two gout episodes in the hospital. I miss jer more each day. The only comfort is that I was able to hold her hand as she took her last breath, and she was not alone.

By anon329758 — On Apr 11, 2013

In response to anon281430, I totally get how you must feel. I am a mother of three, a 20 year old,a 15 year old and a 10 year old. I am a single mother with just me and my children and I have stage 5 renal failure. I just found out three months ago and believe me when I say I'm scared.

Yes, I have my children, but they are just kids. I know you feel your wife is tired, but she may just be as scared as you are. Women are used to having the man be the strong one and sometimes women just freak when they get scared by seeing someone they love sick.

We all go through our own troubles and pain, but can get through them with God and one day at a time. I hope this helps you feel a little better. My prayers are with you and every one of us going through our pains. God bless.

By anon326250 — On Mar 20, 2013

@anon323306, Post 58: Have you figured out what your problem was? I have had eerily similar problems: itchy rash only on exposed parts of my body I have been experiencing on and off for the last seven years (usually in the summer, but some years I don't get it). I am 22 years old, and last May I ran a half marathon which I had been training for. At the end of it I collapsed, hit my head, vomited excessively etc. and when they transferred me to the ER my creatinine levels were high and I had acute renal failure.

I've since gained about 12 pounds in less than a year, which is very unusual for me. I have also been unable to wear my contacts for the last six months or more because my eyes and mouth are always so dry. I was born with heart problems (a VSD, tachycardia, heart murmur etc.), so I don't know if that could be related at all. I find it interesting that you had high creatinine levels before they found it.

I always just assumed I was allergic to sunscreen maybe and that my kidney failure was due to race dehydration or overexertion and nothing more. Now I'm questioning it. Please let me know if you've learned anything else. My thoughts are with you.

By anon324788 — On Mar 12, 2013

I pray that God blesses and relieve each one of us from the pain we face.

I am 30 years old and recently underwent a renal transplant. The doc did advise me on dos and don'ts for the kidney to last longer but I would like advice from other successful transplant patients about the right management (diet and lifestyle including life at work) based on their experiences. --Ken

By anon323306 — On Mar 04, 2013

Back in 2011, I went in to the ER because I had a fever, and they said I had a bug and gave me some meds, but they still did bloodwork on me. I waited for the results, and when it came back, they said everything was O.K. In July 2012, I got this really bad itchy rash only on the exposed parts of my body. I went to the hospital, where they gave me creams and more creams, it didn't work. They finally gave me Prednisone and it went away.

At the beginning of this year, I was in the sun and all of a sudden, the itchy rash came back again again only on the exposed parts. I went back to the hospital and a different doctor decided to do blood tests again, because she was afraid it might be something worse internally. They found out that my potassium was too high, and they also found out everything was unbalanced inside, like my electrolytes and minerals and all that. Most of all, they were very concerned that, my creatinine level was already at 7.9. They looked back at my file, when I came in in 2011, and they found on my record that my bloodwork came back at that time with a creatinine level of 3.1. The doctor never mentioned it to me.

Anyway, the put me on a renal diet and I've lost some weight with it. They gave me meds for the imbalance, too. I went in again after three weeks, and my potassium was down, and everything else improved, but my creatinine level was up to 8.5. They asked me if I was feeling, nauseated, out of breath, no appetite, or had edema, but I had none of that. I was still up and about doing my normal routine.

I went back in after another three weeks All other things improved, but my creatinine level went up again at 10.2 and I still wasn't feeling sick or having edema or any of the other symptoms. They told me that, at this point, I should be feeling very sick. But, thank you God, I'm still feeling okay.

Right after that appointment, I started to get red blotches all over my body this time, not just the exposed parts, and my toes and fingers got really sensitive and I had blood red eyes, not swollen, but the insides were red. I went back in after a week and they gave me prednisone and the red bloody eyes immediately went away, and the red blotches are slowly disappearing. They took blood again, and it came out that everything was improving still and my creatinine level came down to 9.

I thank God for taking care of me, but what do you guys have to say about this because I don't know. Ii am having a biopsy this week, to really see what's going on. Have any one one of you experienced any of this?

If you ask me, right now, how I'm feeling, I can almost say I don't feel sick at all. I don't feel anything. I'm still doing my chores and helping out with things here and there. I'm just wondering if this is a normal reaction to kidney failure or is this something different. Please reply. I would really appreciate it.

By collegestud — On Feb 24, 2013

I am sorry to hear about each and every one of these different situations, health isn't anything to be taken lightly.

I am a college student majoring in biology.

I am doing an research on whether or not kidney failure is linked to men and women with a specific blood type. I would greatly appreciate your feedback and any help that you can assist me with. This is an anonymous survey that only includes your age, blood type, sex and weight.

By anon317375 — On Feb 01, 2013

The neurologist has been treating and monitoring my mom's kidneys for the past five years. They are working at about 30 percent. The cardiologist was going to do a catheterization on my mom (78 years old) using the dye. The kidney doctor said the risks outweighed the benefits because the kidney may not work at all - shut down completely after the catheterization. We chose not to do the catheterization and that has been three years ago and she is 81 now and the kidneys are still holding at 30 percent.

By anon304700 — On Nov 21, 2012

I was at the doctor's recently, and I was concerned about excessive weight gain, 100 pounds in 2 years, without changing my eating habits, ever (I don't drink either). I have high blood pressure, but that was thought to be brought on by pain, (neck surgery, plate and screws, in 04'). My doctor said renal failure.

I had blood work done for thyroid, but it came back that my thyroid was functioning properly. My question is: has anyone with renal failure gained an excessive amount of weight? Or was this just something that my doctor was guessing about?

No plans were made beyond this point, but I have thought about this since my visit. Any viewpoints will be appreciated. By the way, I am a 55 year old female, with no major health problems. I will browse to see if there is an answer.

By amypollick — On Sep 29, 2012

@anon293889: No. Sometimes the situation is reversed. My dad had a heart attack and the dye they used during the heart catheterization procedure caused his kidneys to shut down.

The kidneys and heart work closely together, and dialysis does put a strain on the heart, sometimes. However, many people live successfully for years on dialysis, and don't have issues with their hearts. It all depends on the person.

By anon293889 — On Sep 28, 2012

My father, 63 years old, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease when he was admitted for a heart bypass surgery. After the surgery, he suffered from acute then chronic kidney failure. His kidneys then started functioning. He survived for three years and lived life to the fullest.

Later his doctor said he had to be on dialysis. I must thank the nephrologist for giving the right treatment, since his kidney functioning was declining. The first day he was admitted, dialysis was done twice in a day in the ICU. He had a cardiac arrest the next day and was revived. But the doctors said that he was in a very critical state. They did a tracheotomy after which he was not able to talk or eat. He suffered a lot.

He was fully conscious but was unable to express what he was going through. I feel very guilty that I was not able to do anything. He passed away after being the in the ICU for one and half months. My prayers goes out to every one who has CKD and their relatives.

Question: Does a person die from cardiac arrest after being on dialysis?

By watzwarez — On Aug 28, 2012

Four years ago, my mother was on dialysis machines three times a week until it got to a point where her heart would stop while she was on the machines. They told her they couldn’t give her any more treatments, so my mother knew within a very short time she would die and she accepted it.

A few days after the dialysis was stopped, she started not feeling well. After six days, she was almost in a coma state, but she could still whisper to me, sort of. After eight days she was completely comatose, but could still respond by squeezing my fingers for yes or no answers.

Two weeks went by and they refused her any water or nourishment of any kind. I ended up holding her head up and squeezing a sponge of water to her lips many times a day for as long as I could. About 13 days later, I was sitting beside her at her hospital bed. Then out of nowhere, she sat right up and looked at me and told me she loved me. I hugged her and kissed her and told her the same. She knew I always did everything I could to make her comfortable because the hospital staff would not do anything for her.

I can’t even describe the pain she was in from the toxins in her blood, but I could see it in her eyes. After we hugged and kissed each other, I wiped her head. She was sweating so much. She lay back down and closed her eyes and her mouth opened wide as her last breath escaped. I held her for 30 minutes after. She knew she was not alone and never would be.

The point is she was dehydrated for two weeks until she died. The doctors said this was humane treatment. It’s not true. God bless you all.

By map — On Aug 04, 2012

My 89 year old father has kidney failure, Stage 5, I believe. His creaitnine is over 10 but still he still has no urination problems. He also has an enlarged prostate. Can he still do without dialysis? The reason is he takes 200 mg. Co Q 10, and also takes Co Q 10 plus L carnitine, Alpah Lipoic Acid and Acetyl L carnitine, plus 2000mg of Omega 3 fish oil. I would definitely recommend this to any kidney failure patient starting at any stage. He also takes some vitamins.

By anon282058 — On Jul 27, 2012

I am a 79 year old woman with renal failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, gout and congestive heart failure. All my problems have come from meds. My kidneys are damaged from water pills and pain pills for my congestive heart failure. My gout is caused by meds. The meds for gout cause renal failure. It is a vicious circle. I am too old for a transplant so I just do the best I can.

I no longer take water pills or pain pills. I take prednisone for my gout and that's all. I have a very restricted diet, but my creatinine level went from 3 down to 1.54, so I am happy. Jesus Christ is my savior and I rely on him for support. I will pray for all of you.

By anon281430 — On Jul 23, 2012

My wife can no longer take living with a sad, depressed negative, sick person. I have been on dialysis nine years and had one transplant and am on the list for a second one. Help.

By anon280481 — On Jul 18, 2012

My husband found out suddenly that he had renal failure. He was 49 years old. He went on dialysis for 18 months. It was not pleasant, but kept him alive. You can only do this for 10 to 15 years before you die because it only partially helps. He had a kidney transplant said a cloud lifted off his head and he felt so good. Unfortunately, he died two years later from a reaction to an anti-clotting drug given for a small heart attack at the hospital. He was 53 years old.

My mum was diagnosed with kidney failure in January 2011. Her kidneys only working at 11 percent, and she was told she would die soon too old for dialysis, and I agreed. In January 2012, her kidneys are only working at 8 percent. The only difference was she was more tired, but still lived on her own and functioned well. Now, in July 2012, she is having symptoms of excess water on her heart, cramps at night in bed, pins and needles and pain, but when she sits, the pain goes away. We talked about it and think the blood flow is not getting to her legs, so if she's having a bad night, she can sleep in a comfortable chair with her feet down. The blood flow needs to get to her legs. She is also having odd days being moody and does not want to talk to me, but these are the symptoms of the last stages.

I am thinking of getting her to stay with me as soon as her urine stops, as these seem to be the last weeks of her life. She also has a corn on her food that looks like it is getting infected inside. It is red and very sore. This is because her body can not get rid of toxins and they will go wherever there is a weak point. I will tell her to ignore it if possible, because if the doctor does something it will not help. Pain killers and sleeping pills will help her if needed. It's sad, but at least she has lived a long life.

By anon276274 — On Jun 22, 2012

My friend just found out he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He started treatment and ended up in the hospital because he started vomiting blood. Then his kidneys decided they were not going to work anymore so now he is on dialysis.

So now his treatment for cancer is on hold. He cannot afford to skip treatments but what can they do? If they do treatments he could die and if they don't do treatments he will die. Through all this he is still a happy person except for the pain he has in his stomach. He is also diabetic.

He is only 60 years old I've been praying and praying that someone will come up with a answer on how to help him. In the last seven years, his wife had cancer first, then his 20-year-old son had cancer, then their brother just got done with treatment, now the sister in law is in treatment and now my friend has cancer. I don't know what else this family can handle. I just want everything to go back to normal and let this family alone. So if anyone knows where or how they can help him get better?

By anon273411 — On Jun 06, 2012

In January, my husband had only 12 percent of his kidney function, and he cannot have any more blood tests because he had a seizure when they took his blood. He will not have any more tests and refuses any medical treatment.

It is now June and he only wants to eat french fries and popcorn. He only goes to the bathroom and bed. He does nothing but sleep in the day and is up at night. I am the only one he has, but he refuses hospice. It has been almost two years. I do not know how much time he has left. What do I do?

By anon261361 — On Apr 15, 2012

My father has COPD, is diabetic, and has about 16 percent kidney function left. He has declined dialysis. He is 83 years old. He sleeps a lot and his mobility is not that great. He feels dizzy most of the time. The 16 percent function was told to us about nine months ago. How long does one usually live at this rate?

By anon257403 — On Mar 26, 2012

I came across this site by accident. Not sure how, but I ended up reading what was written by all of you. I could not just click away. Wish I could do something to make everything better.

All I can do: I will pray for all of you and hope that God will make tomorrow a better day. Don't loose hope and faith. You are not alone!

By anon246572 — On Feb 10, 2012

My urine is yellow all the time. Sometimes it has a strong odor. I feel sick most of the day. Could it be I am suffering from renal failure? I have this severe constipation.

By hoophoopya — On Sep 02, 2011

I want to donate a kidney. I am a 27 year old male with A+ blood type. I live in northern california close to Reno, Nevada, but I am willing to travel if needed. I don't smoke nor do I drink much. If someone is interested just post something and we can get in contact. I am not looking for money. I just finally decided I have two good ones, I don't need both.

By anon209801 — On Aug 28, 2011

my nephew is suffering from hereditary kidney disorder alport syndrome. his father has abandoned him as he feels there is no guarantee to his life. his creatinine level is 2.5, but me and my sister have not abandoned him. we will fight for him till the very end. there is no light in the end of the tunnel, but we will fight. i don't know why i am posting this. today i felt like crying my heart out. maybe that's why i am writing. please pray for him.

By smile1 — On Aug 22, 2011

@anon149748, Post 32: My precious mother died at age 68, 21 years ago. I was only 26. Hers was caused by a twisted or bent ureter from her bladder to her kidneys over a long period of time. From what my mother endured from the three day a week dialysis treatments, I would never ever want anyone to go through the suffering as she did. It was more suffering than any cancer patient I have seen go through. So no, it is not a bad decision she is making to refuse it. Let her have some quality of life, even if short, versus the zero quality life the dialysis gave my mother and caused only more suffering. It was horrible.

Yes, she was terribly ill before the dialysis, but it only got worse after each treatment. With each one, she suffered more and more and her heart weakened and she couldn't breathe, eat or sleep, and could barely walk, and her skin was so yellow with a smell of poison. She had a frosty appearance on her legs from the secretion of fluids and poison leaking from her legs.

Eventually, she had one leg removed up to her hip, then she lived two weeks. It was from hardening of the arteries caused from the kidney failure. So basically, the dialysis prolonged her life for three years of pure suffering hell. I don't mean to sound negative. But I believe to allow the person to do what they feel is best. Blessings to you and your mother.

By anon198489 — On Jul 20, 2011

My husband has diabetes and is a candidate for renal failure. We just came out from the hospital after he had a heart attack. God has graciously saved him and is now in our house. My problem is there are medicines he has to take every day and I am anxious that I cannot cope with the expenses. Glad he is alive but God knows my finances.

By anon165839 — On Apr 06, 2011

My dad is in renal failure, kidney failure and heart failure. He cannot do dialysis because of his heart. I need to know what we should be expecting.

By anon162965 — On Mar 25, 2011

Sorry for everyone's loss. My dad went into the hospital with congestive heart failure and two days later was told that he was in stage three renal failure. We transferred him to another, but better hospital they got his creatinine level down from almost 5 to 2.4. His BUN was 50 and was told that he had three different infections in a pressure ulcer that he had had a skin graft on.

When the hospital had everything kidney and heart wise under control, he was sent to a long term wound care floor at another hospital. After only being there two days, he had a major heart attack and the dyes that they had to use during heart catheterization put his kidneys into failure again, but this time worse. The neurologist told us that due to his heart he was not a candidate for kidney dialysis and that all they could do is make him comfortable, but then all of a sudden his creatinine level went from 5.1 to 2.5 but his bun shot up to 114 and within two days, his creatinine was back over 4, with no urine output at all and was in severe pain.

The kidney specialist said they think he was allergic to the antibiotics they had put him on and that it caused him to have complete kidney failure in which led to his death at 2 a.m. that following morning. I was there with my father of the age of 66 when he took his last breath holding my hand and would not trade that for anything in the world, but i do advise when you have a loved one that is going through all of this, keep an eye on their labs. Ask many questions and be as understanding and patient with your loved one, because once they are gone, there is no return for them except in your heart. thank you for listening.

By anon151174 — On Feb 09, 2011

It all depends on how severe the kidney damage is. If the elderly person is passing fair amount of urine, he can live without dialysis for two to six weeks. However, if the person is passing little or no urine, then the survival rate decreases dramatically to 10 to 14 days.

Most elderly who do not want dialysis after kidney failure suffer from a lot of side effects, namely nausea, twitching of the muscles and breathlessness.

Although the elderly person might experience some pain, it is not a major symptom. If the elderly person wants to die at home, it can be arranged by the family members. There are many hospices who also take on elderly patients who do not want dialysis. Kidney failure in elderly is quite common so many hospitals are also equipped to help those elderly patients who do not want dialysis.

By anon150337 — On Feb 07, 2011

my dad has chronic end stage renal failure. He's been receiving dialysis three times a week, and only had a few minor heart problems, like low heart beat. He recently had his thyroid gland removed and is currently in hospital, suffering from low calcium levels, muscle spasms and twitching in the face and hands etc.

On top of that, we've just discovered blockage of the access point; the fistula is giving problems. My question: Are we nearing the end, or is there still something they can do?

By anon149748 — On Feb 05, 2011

My mother is 69 years old and is dying of renal failure. She was told she was too high a risk for a transplant and did not even want to do dialysis.

After many difficulties, she went to dialysis for three months and yesterday decided to stop. Her kidneys are operating at 5 percent right now. I can't help but think stopping dialysis is suicide. I believe she has made peace with herself and is ready to die, but I just wonder if I think it's selfish of her not to continue or selfish of me to want to her stay on dialysis. My heart hurts so much because I know my Mother will die soon.

By anon136038 — On Dec 21, 2010

My father in law is 81, has been an insulin dependent diabetic for many years now, and is currently in stage 5 ckd. His creatinine is at 4.4, but his BUN and urea are high. He is also hypertensive.

We are managing him purely on meds - he doesn't want to go onto dialysis. He has good days and bad- but, over the last few days, has been eating well and been a lot clearer than he has been in over two months. Realistically, how long could we expect him to survive with this disease?

By anon130351 — On Nov 28, 2010

My mother is 80. She has chronic kidney failure and she has 7 percent usage left of her kidneys as of the second week in November. In May she was diagnosed and things have progressively got worse. How much time does she have before they completely fail?

She also has congestive heart failure. I live 10 hours away and she is in assisted living home. Is it time for me to go and stay with her permanently? I try and get back every six weeks or so.

By anon127896 — On Nov 17, 2010

It saddens my heart to participate in this forum but I should first doff my hat to all who have made this forum possible.

My father had a problem with his kidney and one of his kidneys removed in 1999. Just this year he had prostate problems and after starting with the treatment, the other kidney started failing. I cannot establish any causal relationship.

My dad experienced renal failure and currently his other kidney had been pronounced dead. He has been prepared for dialysis and we don't know what will happen from now on since in the third world dialysis is difficult to come by.

I am sad but he is full of smiles and keeps encouraging us. Can someone help us? We're in pain.

By anon118155 — On Oct 13, 2010

Oh my goodness, as I read these posts, I was thinking, please, if in doubt, visit your doctor, have the tests and do your research. Complications with renal failure and diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. are most certainly worth investigating.

My dearest Mum was diagnosed with renal problems 15 years ago but was put into hospital with renal kidney failure and since then she has been on dialysis. I must say there are many issues with dialysis and even though she has had a tough road with over 30 operations, infections, diabetes complications, high blood pressure and access point problems for dialysis, etc., I must say I'm so glad we have had this extra time with Mum.

She has fluid build up, the tremors, loss of urine function, has gotten a lot quieter and more reflective, at times confused. Her breathing has changed but she has good days and can be positive and hopeful.

I'm so thankful she's seen my baby grow up, has enjoyed treats and gifts and quality family visits and time together even though she's been in hospital. Mum doesn't complain but appreciates the small things in life and knows her hope even though she is like this at this stage her hope is in Jesus Christ and she has peace and trust for a future in heaven with a life with no regrets and a repentant and a resolved past.

This is important: God is by her side and we know who holds her future. This has been a trying time just being truthful here, but renal failure can be managed very well.

I know Mum chose this way and has prolonged her health to be with her husband, as well my Dad, who has given up everything to assist her and give her the best. The love, care and comfort of my beautiful Dad has been an inspiration. I'm trying to do my best and be well informed and spend time with my Mum.

The spiritual side needs to be fed as well. If there are things people want to get off their chest or work through past issues and unforgiveness, it is a process and a part of mind, body and spirit as depression can be a part of the process.

It's been important to keep her mind thinking on positive thoughts with a cheerful visit, fresh flowers, fresh fruit, drawings photos of family, phone calls good tv so she can be informed and have enjoyment.

It's been important for me to give Mum want she wants and surprises, like nice perfume, nighties etc. Learn to serve them and be happy in it.

I might not have Mum for too much longer. God bless.

By anon117901 — On Oct 12, 2010

I'm 21 and my sister is 33 years old and has been suffering from a chronic renal failure for about 10 months now and spending most of her time in hospital with unstable condition.

So do you guys think it is a good idea to donate her a kidney or am i still young for that?

By anon116004 — On Oct 05, 2010

My dad had organ failure for 14 years. he had a lot of time in hospital during the last 14 years and sadly we lost him in august of this year due to renal failure.

He also went off his food and drink and his mobility got worse during his last months and he was also confused a lot and turning grayer by the day. In april we were told that his kidneys were only working about six percent and he had weeks to live.

But he had been told in the past so many times he wasn't going to make it and we had visited him in so many icu wards we thought OK we will see and try to make the best of the time we had. that was april. like i said he lasted till august this year. he went peacefully with his family with him but due to this i say RIP Dad. You tried and you fought. Please try all that's offered to you and think of your family you leave behind. And god bless you all, young and old.

By anon114346 — On Sep 28, 2010

My Dad has chronic kidney failure. His function is 9 percent now and he also has COPD and diabetes. He has lost around five stone and was given six months 15 months ago. He is looking very grey in the face now and does not enjoy his food or anything else.

He has very little mobility and struggles to get around. I pop in every day, to do for him after i finish work. He is sleeping a lot of the time too. He sometimes does not get out of bed till lunch time. can anyone say if this means time is running out. Barb

By anon113115 — On Sep 23, 2010

My nine year old grandson was born with only one kidney functioning at approx only 45 percent. He is in stage 3 not far from stage 4. He has been taking NuTropin for a year and a half to increase his size so he doesn't reject an adult kidney.

If his creatine level gets to be around a 5, he usually has to be hospitalized with an IV for re-hydration and antibiotics. Since he also has an ileostomy, keeping him hydrated can sometimes be a challenge. He is also now incontinent. During the night he sometimes spikes a temp and gets cold sores on his lip.

There are some bad days, but most are good as long as he follows his diet. Most people do not even realize that he is sick. He does everything boys his age do but i wish that we could judge his condition more and know when and what to expect.

By anon110180 — On Sep 10, 2010

I've been reading the above posts and though I can understand not wanting to go on dialysis, I have to say I have been on peritoneal dialysis for 24 years.

I have lived a pretty normal life. I attended and graduated from college. I worked some though not full time.

I dated and finally found my soul mate. The only thing I really couldn't do as have a baby, but my renal failure was a genetic one so I never wanted to chance passing it to a child so I knew I'd never do that.

My husband has children so I have step-kids that love me. So anyone who comes across this post, know you can live a decent life even on dialysis.

By theshelton07 — On Aug 23, 2010

my uncle was 44 years old when he died of renal failure in december. he didn't want to have dialysis and the doctors said if he didn't take dialysis he would pass way in six months and he did.

By anon90227 — On Jun 15, 2010

My cat has kidney failure and i was wondering is it painful to have it or to die from it?

By anon89582 — On Jun 10, 2010

I'm 28 years old with creatinine 1.9 and urea high too, one pack smoking/day. what is the explanation of my case doc?

By anon87544 — On May 31, 2010

my mum is 60 years old and diabetic four 12 years. she's having renal failure and hardly ever eats. it really worries me knowing she is going to die.

By anon81885 — On May 03, 2010

My mom was 57 with chronic renal failure. This past November, she passed away with several other complications, but reading the rest of these stories on here, all I can say is I'm glad my mom didn't want the kidney machine. her words were just let her go in peace which was really hard for me and my sister. You all are constantly in my prayers. amen

By anon76418 — On Apr 10, 2010

My 65 year old mother has had problems with her kidneys her whole life but they were controllable up until last week when we took her to the hospital to have some test run on the diabetic sore she had her foot. They said she had a bacteria in it, so they put her on a high strength IV antibiotic.

Well, now they say because of the antibiotic she now has renal failure. When i took her in there she could walk, breathe and form sentences. now she can't do any of those things, plus she has uncontrollable shaking and jerking of her entire body, and it's like she can't think clearly.

I just really don't know what i should do. should i switch her hospitals or what? if anyone has any helpful info please let me know. thank you. --cristy 1520

By anon71366 — On Mar 18, 2010

I just found out my Grandfather has renal failure. He 80 years old and has been healthy all his life.

We finally got him to go to the doctor last Tuesday and he's been in ever since. I'm very scared of losing him, we lost grandma in 2006. He's so stubborn and the doctor said when he comes home he will have to go dialysis three times a week. does this sound bad? i know congenital heart failure follows thereafter.

By anon67914 — On Feb 27, 2010

am i going to die? I have at least two of all renal failure symptoms.

By anon57805 — On Dec 27, 2009

My mother is 85 and at end stage renal failure. Because she won't eat, we had to take her off dialysis as it was pulling the small amount of fluid that she takes in (usually only 2-3 ounces a day). I feel that she has given up. How long can she realistically last on 2-3 ounces of water a day?

By anon57328 — On Dec 22, 2009

I am the daughter of a 75 year old lady who has just recently passed away. My mom had a brilliant mind regardless of her age.

From July on, she complained of having a sensation of pins and needles in her hands and feet. This got progressively more severe as time went on. We offered to take her for a complete physical, but being my mum she continued to procrastinate and find every possible reason why she could not go in for a complete medical.

She also began to complain of severe leg cramps as well. In the last weeks of her life she had an awful body itch. Nothing we tried seemed to relieve her of that itch.Her symptoms went undiagnosed as chronic renal failure up until the last week of her life.

We now can relate all the symptoms to renal failure, however, if we had diagnosed it earlier, perhaps we could have treated it accordingly and saved mum all the pain towards the latter end.

Yes, we really did seek all the best medical care and medication, but we never knew the problem until the end. We loved and nursed her until the end.

By anon54200 — On Nov 28, 2009

jac5: Clear urine can simply mean you are well hydrated. Dark yellow urine can mean you are dehydrating. But i'm no doctor so don't take my word for it and assume everything is OK. It's good always to ask a professional.

By anon53525 — On Nov 22, 2009

Actually my dad was diagnosed with kidney failure. All he ever did was sleep and he said he felt like he was dying but would not go to the doctor.

well one day he got in a wreck and they took him to the hospital and they ran tests and found out that if he had not come in that night, he would have died not even two weeks from that day.

Well anyway, they put a port in him that very night in the hospital and started dialysis that morning. He is now doing so great and even doing home dialysis so there is hope!

By amypollick — On Oct 19, 2009

Anon49279, I am so sorry about your husband. But two weeks from death by renal failure is pretty much the end of the line. Even dialysis would have probably just prolonged the inevitable. And unless I'm mistaken, to even get listed for transplant, you must have at least a six-month life expectancy. But once kidney damage gets to that point, it starts affecting all the other organs. It's hard on the heart, the liver and the brain.

By anon49279 — On Oct 19, 2009

My husband was diagnosed with renal failure two days before he dies. We found out that he had kidney failure 13 days prior to the two days before his death and no one did anything about it or even knew about it. He was in the hospital for two weeks, even though they had been running tests on him and had done a urine test. if they knew and did not say anything, could he been alive today?

By anon48768 — On Oct 14, 2009

sahug1955: I have hepatitis c and was also stage four. I had had it for at least 25 years. I did the peg intron and ribavarin treatment for 12 months. It was very very hard on me, but I stuck it out. I have been free of the disease for two years now, and my liver has repaired itself back to normal. The liver is the only organ that can do this. Get your hubby to a doctor even if you have to say it's for you. There is always hope.

By jac5 — On Jan 23, 2009

I am a 44 year old female. I had a physical with blood work a couple of months ago and everything was normal.

My first morning urine was completely clear this morning. After breakfast, it was a normal, yellowish color. I know that in dogs, clear morning urine is a cause for concern and I was wondering if the same is true for humans. I feel fine otherwise.

By anon8973 — On Feb 25, 2008

I am 30 years old Female and generally healthy recently diagnosed with renal failure. what is expected in diagnosing the problem?

By sahug1955 — On Dec 26, 2007

My husband is 49 years. old. He has had Hepatitis c for at least 10 years., probably longer. Also, Fibrosis stage 4, cirrhosis. Today, his urine looks like a glass of coffee and he said he is passing painful clots. I can't get him to go to the doc or the er. He says he is dying anyway. What will happen if he doesn't go? What should I do? He will get extremely mad if I call anybody? Thanks, Sue

By anon2529 — On Jul 15, 2007

What are the signs of kidney renal failure? How do you find out if you are at risk of this ?

By anon357 — On Apr 22, 2007

with renal failure in the chronic stage, if a person refuses dialises, what could be expected?

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