Chronic Renal Disease

Chronic renal disease is a condition that can cause the progressive deterioration of kidney function. If left untreated, the condition gradually gets worse with time, eventually leading to end-stage renal disease and organ failure. An inherent difficulty in diagnosing chronic renal disease is the fact that symptoms often do not develop until the majority of kidney function has been lost. Also, many of the symptoms can be caused by other illnesses. Renal disease also can be caused by issues with the pancreas. For example, acute pancreatitis, which has been reported among patients with chronic kidney disease, can have an impact on other organs, potentially causing life-threatening complications in the kidneys, lungs, and heart.

Typically, the first signs of chronic kidney disease are relatively benign and include a loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, nausea, itching skin, headaches, and a general sense of fatigue. More severe symptoms indicating diminished kidney function can also develop, such as a change in skin tone, swelling in the extremities, excessive thirst, shortness of breath, a susceptibility to bruising, and impotence. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common culprits behind chronic renal disease. Other potential causes include:

  • Kidney injury
  • Kidney stones
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Birth defects
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • And other kidney diseases

When identified early, renal disease can often be effectively managed by taking prescription medication, avoiding salt and potassium, eating meals that have minimal fat and cholesterol, and closely monitoring blood sugar levels. However, to treat end-stage renal disease, dialysis or a kidney and/or pancreas transplant is required. At Tampa General Hospital, our transplant team has extensive experience providing both kidney and pancreas transplants to treat patients with chronic renal disease.

For additional information on Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program and our pancreas transplant selection and referral criteria, call 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the pancreas transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or reach a coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.