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An overview of stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease

Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease is the end stage of various kidney diseases. At this advanced stage, patients have glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 15ml/min or less, that is to say, the kidneys have lost nearly all their ability to do their work effectively. Finally, dialysis or kidney transplant is needed to maintain patients’ life.

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What are symptoms of stage 5 CKD?

Because kidneys nearly lose all of their kidney function, more and more symptoms may occur:

● Being tired all the time

● Nausea and vomiting

● Constipation or diarrhea

● Skin itching, changes in skin color or increased skin pigmentation

● Muscle cramps or restless legs

● Swelling, especially around the ankles and eyes

● Being unable to concentrate

● Tingling in hands or feet

● Loss of appetite

● Headaches

● High blood pressure and high creatinine and BUN level

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Dialysis and kidney transplant for stage 5 CKD?

For people with advanced kidney disease, dialysis and kidney transplant are used commonly with different principles.

Dialysis is a kidney replacement therapy that purifies blood by removing excess fluid, waste products and toxins from the body. However, it can’t be as effective as healthy kidneys, as healthy kidneys work for 24 hours one day but most patients only accept hemodialysis three times one week. This is why the longer patients undergo dialysis, the weaker their body.

Kidney transplant is usually considered as the best therapy for kidney disease by most patients, but not all people with end stage kidney disease can be the candidate of kidney transplant. Age, complications or other diseases may make kidney transplant unavailable for some patients.

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How long can people with stage 5 CKD live with dialysis?

The answer is decided by patients’ remaining kidney function and complications. According to the clinical research, the average life expectancy of people on dialysis is about 5 years. However, some dialysis patients live more than 10 years, while some other patients only live one or two years. If you are one among them, improving your kidney function and well control of your complications can extend your life span largely.

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Can people with stage 5 CKD live without dialysis?

American Kidney Foundation guidelines recommend patients to begin dialysis when their kidney function is 15% or less. If patients’ creatinine level is higher than 8.0mg/dl or they have diabetes, delayed dialysis may cause more severe complications and further kidney damage. From this analysis, as long as kidney function increases to 15% and maintains stable, patients can live without dialysis.

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Alternative treatments to dialysis for stage 5 CKD

Because dialysis only can replace part of kidney function but can’t do anything for damaged kidney cells, many patients prefer to take some natural alternative treatments to dialysis. The following are three treatment options:

1. Blood purification: Compared with dialysis, blood purification can cleanse patients’ blood more thoroughly, because it uses various methods. Plasma exchange, immune adsorption, hemofiltration, hemoperfusion, CRRT, etc, is used selectively according to patients’ individual condition. With a cleaner internal environment, patients can live without less complications and their kidney function can be preserved.

2. Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy: Through extending blood vessels, anti-inflammation, anti-coagulation and degrading extracellular matrix, this therapy can increase the blood flow to kidney largely. Then, damaged kidney cells can get enough nutritions and oxygen from the increased blood flow. At the same time, some herbal medicines are used to enhance these cells’ self-curative ability. Finally, a part of kidney cells can recover to work again and patients can live without dialysis healthily and safely.

3. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy has six steps and each of them are closely interlinked. As a combination of blood purification and herbal medicines, this therapy can not only cleanse patients’ blood, just as dialysis does, but also repair damaged kidney cells. Therefore, it is a good alternative treatment to dialysis.

No matter which treatment patients with stage 5 CKD adopt, a healthy lifestyle and diet plays a vital role in the whole treatment. Remember always make sure you are taking correct treatment and diet plan.

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