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End-stage kidney disease

  • Alternative Names

    Renal failure - end stage; Kidney failure - end stage; ESRD


    Symptoms may include:

    • General ill feeling and fatigue
    • Generalized itching (pruritus) and dry skin
    • Headaches
    • Weight loss without trying
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea

    Other symptoms may develop, including:

    • Abnormally dark or light skin and changes in nails
    • Bone pain
    • Brain and nervous system symptoms
      • Drowsiness and confusion
      • Problems concentrating or thinking
      • Numbness in the hands, feet, or other areas
      • Muscle twitching or cramps
    • Breath odor
    • Easy bruising, nosebleeds, or blood in the stool
    • Excessive thirst
    • Frequent hiccups
    • Low level of sexual interest and impotence
    • Menstrual periods stop (amenorrhea)
    • Sleep problems, such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or obstructive sleep apnea
    • Swelling of the feet and hands (edema)
    • Vomiting, especially in the morning

    Signs and tests

    High blood pressure almost always occurs during end-stage kidney disease. A brain and nervous system (neurologic) examination may show signs of nerve damage. The health care provider may hear abnormal heart or lung sounds with a stethoscope.

    Patients with end-stage kidney disease will make much less urine, or urine production may stop.

    End-stage kidney disease changes the results of many tests. Patients receiving dialysis will need these and other tests done often:

    • Potassium
    • Sodium
    • Albumin
    • Phosphorous
    • Calcium
    • Cholesterol
    • Magnesium
    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Electrolytes

    This disease may also change the results of the following tests:

    • Erythropoietin
    • PTH
    • Bone density test