Kidney failure is a very serious medical condition. The kidneys are important organs that are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood. When these organs decline in function, serious complications can occur.
Experts classify kidney failure into five stages based on the severity of the condition. Unlike stage 1 or stage 2 kidney failure, patients with stage 3 kidney disease are more likely to experience symptoms. If you believe that you have this condition, it is critical to see a doctor and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Types of Stage 3 Kidney Failure
Doctors measure kidney function by analyzing patients’ estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The eGFR is a measure of how well the kidneys are able to filter out waste. The lower the eGFR, the more advanced your kidney failure.
There are two types of stage 3 kidney failure: stage 3a and stage 3b.
- Stage 3a kidney failure occurs when you sustain mild to moderate kidney damage. Your eGFR is between 45–59, and your kidneys do not function as well as they should.
- Stage 3b kidney failure occurs when you sustain moderate to severe damage to your kidneys. Your eGFR is between 30–44, and like stage 3a, your kidneys are not working as well as they normally would.
Symptoms of Stage 3 Kidney Failure
Many people with kidney failure do not experience symptoms until the later stages of the disease, where kidney function is severely limited. However, stage 3 patients are more likely to experience symptoms compared to stage 1 or stage 2 patients with much higher eGFR results.
During this stage, you may experience some painful and bothersome symptoms, such as the following.
- Back pain
- Sleep problems
- A loss of appetite
- Persistent itching
- Swelling in the hands and feet
- Urinating more or less than usual
- Weakness and fatigue
- Urine that looks foamy or is a dark or unusual color
It is also common for patients to develop complications during stage 3 kidney failure. Many people develop anemia, high blood pressure, and bone disease due to the kidneys’ inability to efficiently filter out waste.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Kidney Failure?
Doctors use a number of tests and methods to diagnose kidney failure. In most cases, your doctor will take a sample of your blood and analyze it for substances that your blood is supposed to filter out, like the waste product creatinine. In fact, physicians analyze eGFR by measuring creatinine levels.
Your doctor may also conduct a urinalysis and a urine output measurement. People with kidney disease tend to urinate less than others, so a low volume of urine output is an indicator of this condition. During a urinalysis, your doctor will look for sediment, high protein levels, and other unusual substances in your urine.
Treatment for Stage 3 Kidney Failure
Stage 3 kidney failure marks a mid-stage threshold for patients. In stage 4 and stage 5, kidney function is severely limited and requires intensive treatment, including hemodialysis and transplant surgery.
However, prompt treatment and healthy lifestyle changes can slow or even stop the progression of the disease. With a strong regimen, many people with stage 3 kidney failure do not progress to stage 4 or stage 5. If you notice any symptoms of kidney disease, it is critical to speak with a medical professional as soon as possible.
Your doctor will likely recommend that you make certain lifestyle changes to support your kidney health. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and quitting smoking are common pieces of advice for patients with kidney failure.
Many underlying conditions can cause or aggravate kidney disease, and this condition can lead to serious complications. At stage 3, it is very important to address and treat these conditions to prevent further damage to your kidneys. Your doctor may recommend the following treatments and medication.
- High blood pressure medications
- Medications to lower cholesterol
- Vitamin D supplements to support bone health
- Erythropoietin supplements to manage anemia
- Phosphate binders to prevent blood vessel calcification
- Diuretics and a low-salt diet to reduce swelling and fluid retention
- A low-protein diet, which can reduce strain on the kidneys
During stage 3 kidney failure, you will need to visit your physician or kidney specialist regularly to monitor the progression of your condition. Your doctor may take regular urine and blood tests during these appointments. He or she may also refer you to a dietitian, who can monitor your lifestyle changes and help you ensure that you get all the nutrients that you need.
What Causes Stage 3 Kidney Failure?
There are many reasons as to why people experience kidney failure. Comorbidities like high blood pressure and diabetes can lead to kidney problems, as can any injury or illness that cuts off blood flow to the kidneys. Issues with urine elimination, such as certain cancers, may also lead to kidney failure. Once the kidneys begin to decline, there is no way to reverse the condition.
In some cases, kidney failure occurs due to factors outside of our control. Defective and dangerous medications have been shown to cause kidney problems, such as kidney cancer and kidney failure. Truvada, a popular medication used for HIV prevention and protection, has a history of causing kidney problems in patients.
Paying for Stage 3 Kidney Failure Treatment
It can be very expensive to pay for kidney failure care. Although stage 3 patients do not typically require interventions like dialysis or surgery, the cost of frequent doctor’s appointments, medications, and other treatments can quickly add up.
If you believe that your kidney failure occurred due to a dangerous or defective medication like Zantac, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Former patients are filing lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturers and recovering settlements to pay for medical care, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more.
In these situations, it is important to speak with a Zantac lawsuit attorney who has experience representing victims of dangerous and defective drugs. Your lawyer can analyze your case and eligibility and help you understand your legal options. If you experience any symptoms of kidney failure, seek medical care as soon as you can. After you receive the treatment that you need, speak to a defective medication lawyer to discuss your next steps.