Kidney failure, or end stage renal disease, is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. This condition occurs when the kidneys stop working, usually due to extended illness or damage. People experiencing kidney failure must either go on dialysis or obtain a kidney transplant to survive. When the kidneys are unable to filter a person’s blood, toxins begin building up in the body, making it difficult to survive. There are five stages of kidney disease and failure, which are determined by an eGFR blood test that measures how well the kidneys are filtering waste from the blood. This article will discuss what exactly is stage 3 kidney failure.
Understanding Stage 3 Kidney Failure
In stage three kidney failure, the kidneys are moderately damaged and not working optimally. In the first part of this stage, the eGFR is between 45 and 59. It drops between 30 and 44 in later stages. Many people with stage three kidney disease have few symptoms. However, they are more likely to have health complications arise as a result of the kidney failure. These include higher blood pressure, anemia, and bone disease, which can all further damage the body and have unpleasant side-effects of their own.
Those who do have symptoms during stage three kidney failure may experience fatigue, fluid retention and swelling, shortness of breath, kidney pain, and trouble sleeping due to muscle cramps. Urination habits may also change. If you are experiencing stage three kidney failure, you might find yourself producing less urine but needing to go to the bathroom more often. Foamy urine, which occurs when protein is present, and blood in the urine are also possible. These symptoms can make it difficult to continue normal habits and routines, necessitating additional care and support as the disease progresses.
Managing Stage 3 Kidney Failure
To keep kidney disease from getting worse, several lifestyle changes may be necessary. First, meet with a nephrologist to determine a treatment plan. These doctors are kidney experts and can help you understand what changes to make and how often you’ll need to get your kidneys checked. Be sure to ask your doctor about blood pressure medications that can help keep kidney disease from getting worse, particularly if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, as these can worsen along with the kidney disease.
A Kidney-Friendly Diet
A dietician can also provide valuable information about how to change your diet to prevent kidney disease from worsening. A kidney-friendly diet helps prevent certain minerals from building up in your body, helping to ease the strain on your kidneys and preventing more toxins from damaging your system. Most kidney-friendly diets are rich in fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. Foods that are higher in sodium, sugar, and fat, as well as red meat, are typically avoided.
Adjust Sodium Intake
Sodium affects your blood pressure and helps maintain the water balance in your body, but because kidneys are necessary to keep those sodium levels in check, extra sodium can accumulate if your kidneys are not functioning properly. This can cause swelling, shortness of breath, and fluid buildup. You will need to adjust your diet to ensure your sodium intake is appropriate for the condition of your kidneys.
Limit Phosphorus & Calcium
Phosphorus and calcium should also be limited in one’s diet. To limit these minerals, eat more fruits and veggies, choose corn and rice cereals, and cut back on meat, poultry, fish, sodas, and dairy. Excess phosphorus can put you at risk for heart disease if levels get too high. They can put an undue strain on the kidneys.
Reducing potassium is also common, as too much can cause additional heart problems. Bananas, potatoes, avocados, and melons should be replaced with apples, cranberries, strawberries, plums, pineapple, and boiled cauliflower, among other low-potassium fruits and vegetables.
Arranging For Hospice Care
While some types of kidney disease can be treated, chronic kidney disease has no cure and requires frequent dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant. If you or a loved one is unable to utilize these treatments, it may be time to consider hospice care services. Hospice care helps ensure that people facing terminal illnesses are as comfortable as possible as they spend their last few months at home. Services can include a number of pain management, mental health services, and spiritual counseling options, depending on the patient’s needs.
Contact Harbor Light Hospice for more information about stage 3 kidney failure or about hospice services for a loved one progressing in the kidney failure stages. Harbor Light Hospice provides customized care plans for people with terminal illnesses to help them remain comfortable and receive care in their own homes. Its teams of doctors, nurse practitioners, and therapists are specially trained to help patients and their families move through this difficult period of life, offering expert guidance and support and using a variety of resources throughout the process.