I have kidney disease
As the patient, you have the most important role in your health care. Learning about kidney disease, the complications you may face and the treatment options available to you can help you communicate with your health care team to get the best possible treatment for you.
The term “chronic kidney disease” (CKD) means lasting damage to the kidneys that can get worse over time. If the damage is very bad, your kidneys may stop working. This is called kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to live. Learn more about CKD and how it is treated.
Your kidneys help your whole body work properly. When you have CKD, you can also have problems with how the rest of your body is working. You might experience anemia, bone disease, heart disease, fluid buildup, and too much phosphorous, calcium or potassium in your body. Learn more about the complications that often come with kidney disease.
If you have kidney disease (but are not on dialysis), you need to have a kidney-friendly meal plan to help you stay healthier. Ask your doctor to help you find a dietitian. Medicare and many private insurance policies will help pay for appointments with dietitians. Check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers medical nutrition therapy (MNT). Learn more about the CKD diet.
Kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. When your kidneys fail, it means they have stopped working well enough for you to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant. Learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment of kidney failure.
If you have ESRD, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. There is no cure for ESRD, but many people live long lives while having dialysis or after having a kidney transplant. There are many options for treating kidney failure, including kidney transplant and several types of dialysis. Your doctor can help you figure out which treatment is best for you. Learn more about treating kidney failure.
If you are a U.S. dialysis patient and you can’t afford your health care expenses, the American Kidney Fund may be able to help. We provide assistance with health insurance premiums, transportation costs, prescription medications, and other expenses related to care. Learn more about how AKF helps patients with the costs of treatment.
AKF offers free monthly educational webinars on topics about kidney disease. These live webinars will feature kidney disease experts who will talk about a different kidney topic each month. See the schedule of kidney webinars.
Your voice is powerful! Join thousands of fellow patients, loved ones, caregivers and health care professionals and make your voice heard on Capitol Hill. We advocate for policies to improve the health of millions of Americans and their families who are living with, or at risk of developing, kidney disease. Learn more about AKF’s Advocacy Network.