How much water should you drink if your kidneys are failing?
While drinking more water can help boost kidney function, there is no evidence that suggests that an increase in water consumption will prevent the progress of kidney failure.
The National Kidney Foundation recommends for people with stages I and II chronic kidney disease (CKD) to consume 8 glasses of water per day and those with stages III, IV, and V CKD to limit water consumption. It is best to discuss your water and salt consumption with your doctor.
What are the main functions of your kidneys?
Kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located below the rib cage on either side of the spine. Their main functions include the following:
What causes kidney failure?
Chronic renal failure causes
A gradual loss of kidney function may be caused by:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Chronic glomerulonephritis
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Kidney stones
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Interstitial nephritis
Acute renal failure causes
A sudden loss of kidney function occurs due to the following:
- Pre-renal causes
- Renal causes
- Post-renal causes
- Prostatic hypertrophy or prostate cancer
- Kidney stones
- Obstruction of the bladder or ureters
- Sudden blood flow loss
What are the signs and symptoms of kidney failure?
Kidney failure can be asymptomatic initially, and if left untreated, can lead to life-threatening conditions:
- Whole body edema (swelling)
- Inability to pass urine or very little urine output
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Hyperkalemia (high blood potassium level)
- Hypocalcemia (low blood calcium level)
- Metabolic acidosis (excessive amount of acids in the body)
- Congestive cardiac failure
- Uremia (high blood urea level)
- Itchy and dry skin
- Muscle cramps
What is the treatment for kidney failure?
If you have kidney failure, a healthy lifestyle, diet modifications, regular follow-ups, and appropriate medications may improve your quality of life and extend your lifespan:
- Dietary modifications such as the DASH diet (low-sodium) and renal diet (low-sodium, low-protein, and low-potassium, with controlled water intake)
- Managing blood pressure and diabetes
- Antibiotics for infections as needed
- Corticosteroids for immune-related conditions (nephrotic syndrome)
- Blood transfusions for anemia
- Intravenous fluids, if needed
"Kidney Failure." Cleveland Clinic. <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17689-kidney-failure>.
"Kidney failure (ESRD) - Symptoms, causes and treatment options." American Kidney Fund. <https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/kidney-failure/>.
United States. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. "What is kidney failure?" <https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidney-failure/what-is-kidney-failure>.
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