Kidney failure (also called end-stage renal disease) occurs when
kidney damage is so severe that a person needs dialysis or a kidney transplant
to maintain life. Kidney failure often occurs after kidney damage has been
present for 10 years or more.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of
kidney failure in the United States.
Kidney failure can be measured by how well the kidneys are able to
filter wastes from the blood. This is called glomerular filtration rate, or
GFR. Kidney failure usually occurs when the GFR falls to below 15% of what is
expected in a person with normal kidney function.
Kidney failure is treated with dialysis, which helps filter waste
products from the blood when the kidneys are not working properly, or with
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology