Chronic Disease

Chronic kidney failure: Symptoms, stages, diet and therapy

The kidney failure is a condition that occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to properly perform its function. The disease develops gradually, although it may evolve very fast. The kidneys, although we do not give them the due attention, are an organ whose function is essential to filter the blood and regulate body fluids.

chronic kidney failure

Kidney failure can become chronic and seriously impair the quality of patient life that must also resort to dialysis. Let’s see, in more detail, what are the symptoms, stages, diet and most appropriate therapy for chronic kidney failure are.

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When the kidneys are not working well, the body tends to retain water, which can translate into symptoms as swelling of the face, ankles, legs or other body parts. In addition, retained excess fluid can also cause difficulty breathing. The consequences of kidney failure can be many: feeling more tired and weak and unable to perform some of the daily activities.

This is because the toxins accumulate in the body. In the initial phase of the disease it may also appear other symptoms, known as polyuria, an increase in the amount of urine produced during the day. Other characteristic symptoms include pain below the ribs and increased blood pressure. An increase that occurs especially when kidney disease gets worse, going from a mild to a more severe stage. Also characteristic is the pale skin of people who suffer from this disorder.


Chronic kidney failure develops when the kidneys are unable to function. This disorder can also be associated with certain diseases, such as kidney stones, diabetes, hypertension, lupus, kidney cysts, recurrent kidney infections and constant use of painkillers.

Alcohol abuse can also lead to disease. The early diagnosis of disease will help to better control its evolution.


For stages of chronic failure is usually follows a model proposed in 2002 by the KDOQI (Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative) follows a pattern recognized throughout the world and which takes into account the speed of glomerular filtration rate (the rate at which the renal filter shape). According to this factor we obtain the following classification:

  • >90 ml/min/1.73 m² – conservative kidney function
  • 60-89 ml/min/1.73 m² – Phase II chronic mild kidney impairment
  • 30-59 ml/min/1.73 m² – phase III moderate chronic kidney failure
  • 15-29 ml/min/1.73 m² – severe stage IV chronic kidney disease
  • Stage V Renal Disease – ml/min/1.73 m <15 - dialysis

In the last stage, kidneys have almost lost its function. In these circumstances, water retention and accumulation of substances cause uremic syndrome, complications at the level of the blood, cardiovascular, nervous and endocrine systems.


The first step of treatment for chronic kidney failure is to identify the underlying cause of the disease. For example, at the origin of the pathology there may be factors such as obstructive nephropathy, kidney stones. Overall, treatment will be aimed at slowing the progression of the disease, to improve survival and get a better quality of life. It is essential to check kidney function regularly, especially if you suffer from any disease that could endanger the work of the kidneys or if you are taking medication regularly.

In the case in which the disease cannot be resolved otherwise it must resort to dialysis. Two types of this treatment: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. The first redirects blood to a machine that is capable of removing toxins and regulates the levels of certain substances, such as potassium. Hemodialysis is done 3-4 times a week, in sessions of about 4 or 5 hours.

Peritoneal dialysis uses the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity) to clean the blood. In peritoneal cavity surgically placed a tube or catheter, through which the toxins are filtered and cleaned the blood. After dialysis, the fluid present in the peritoneum is drained outside the body in a bag. The same cycle is repeated several times a week.


The diet also plays a key role if we suffer from chronic kidney failure. Your doctor can tell you what to eat and what should limit. So, you will have to reduce the amount of salt, potassium and protein. It is recommended a special diet that provides a daily intake of no more than 50 grams of protein on average. It is also important to control your calorie intake to maintain ideal weight.

You should avoid the consumption of alcohol, and to reduce sodium, bouillon cubes, pickles, sauces, like mayonnaise, mustard and margarine, salted snacks. To reduce the phosphorus must restrict the sausage, cheese, chocolate, yeast, fatty meats, egg yolks, nuts and bran. In some cases is also advised elimination of certain types of fruit (grapes, bananas, kiwi) and vegetables (artichokes, spinach and potatoes).

The allowed foods include pasta, bread, rice, white meat, fish, vegetables (except beans, chickpeas, lentils, artichokes, spinach and potatoes). It is best to use extra virgin olive oil. Drinking plenty of natural mineral water.