Health Risks of Kidney Failure

As of 1993, over 150,000 people are on dialysis (Gutch, ix). The focus today is not only on improving dialysis equipment and procedures, but to better understand the patient aspects of renal failure. Kidney failure has many causes including infections, cancer, and polycystic disease. End stage renal failure is characterized by less than 15-20% of normal nephron function that results in the accumulation of hazardous waste products. The state of kidney failure is termed uremic syndrome and includes a variety of symptoms. The symptoms may include:

All of the above symptoms can be controlled with adequate dialysis. In order to minimize the occurrence of these syptoms, it is important that dialysis patients receive the proper dialyis treatment. Models such as the one developed in this site can be used as a tool to investigate the amount of dialysis required. The measure of dialysis effectiveness is commonly the urea concentration. Increased urea concentration correlates well with an elevated level of other waste products that create the symptoms listed above and illustrated in the diagram below.
It is also important for people with kidney disease that are not on dialysis to understand the considerations they must give to these health risks. If some kidney function is present, monitoring diet and exercise level may help in alleviating some of these symptoms.