July 2014

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Health Capsule

Kidney Failure and Its Treatment

*Editor’s Note: The publications mentioned in this article are no longer available. Learn more about kidney failure on this website. Or contact healthinfo@niddk.nih.gov or 1-800-860-8747 for more information about kidney health.

Your kidneys help keep you healthy by maintaining the right balance of water and other substances inside your body. But if your kidneys start to malfunction, you might not realize it for a long while. Kidney disease usually doesn’t make you feel sick until the problem is serious and irreversible—a condition known as kidney failure.

The leading causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indians are especially at risk for kidney failure. So are people with a family history of kidney failure.

To help affected people learn more about treatment options, NIH produced a new booklet called What I Need To Know About Kidney Failure and How It’s Treated*. It explains therapies such as kidney transplant, different types of dialysis, and conservative management. You’ll also find tips for healthy eating as well as questions to ask your doctor.

The publication is available online*, along with a printable PDF of the 32-page booklet. To order a free printed booklet, call toll-free 1-800-891-5390, or e-mail nkudic@info.niddk.nih.gov.

You can find additional easy-to-read publications about kidney failure, in both English and Spanish language, at kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/kidneyfailure/index.aspx*.