ESRD is a term used to describe a level of decrease in kidney function that is severe and not expected to recover or improve. Those patients with ESRD are either receiving dialysis or expected to need to start dialysis or receive a kidney transplant in the near future.
When kidney function decreases, several abnormalities can develop, depending on the level of decrease in kidney function. These could include fluid retention, hypertension (high blood pressure, HTN), rise in serum phosphorus, decrease in serum calcium and anemia. Additionally, especially when the level of decrease in kidney function is severe, calcium can deposit in blood vessels (Vascular calcification), which has been shown to be associated with higher cardiovascular adverse events.
The optimal treatment of ESRD is kidney transplantation. However, for those who are unable to get kidney transplantation, dialysis is an acceptable temporary or permanent alternative. Compliance with dialysis therapy and other measures to control serum phosphorus, blood pressure, fluids and diabetes are essential to maintain a good health and avoid complications of ESRD.
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