How Long Does Kidney Failure Take To Kill You?

Kidney failure is a common but confusing condition, and it can be difficult to understand how long kidney failure will take to kill you. If the average person knows that death follows a period of time with organ damage, then why are there so many people still waiting for their kidneys to fail?

This article will go over everything from what type of kidney problem occurs when someone develops kidney failure as well as some examples of how this issue could affect each individual.

The kidneys are vital organs that play a key role in maintaining homeostasis (the body’s normal balance). They filter blood and remove waste from the body. If they fail to perform their functions, kidney failure occurs. The kidneys are located at the back of the abdominal cavity, behind the bladder, and below the diaphragm. As such, they are protected from external damage. However, they are susceptible to internal injury.

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How Long Does Kidney Failure Take to Kill You?

Kidney failure is a progressive condition that will eventually lead to death. It can take years for kidney function to decline enough to be the cause of death, but it typically does not happen within one year. For patients receiving dialysis, the typical life expectancy is five years. While the typical lifespan of a kidney from a living donor is 12 to 20 years, compared to 8 to 12 years for a kidney from a deceased donor. Conversely, dialysis patients often live shorter lives than kidney transplant recipients do. Many people with kidney failure will need more than one kidney transplant during their lifetime.

The exact length of time it takes for kidney failure to kill someone depends on the cause of the problem, how well treatment is working, and a person’s overall health. For example, people who are in poor health may die more quickly than those who are healthier.

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The kidneys filter waste products and excess water from the blood, then excrete them through urine. The kidneys also help regulate blood pressure. Kidney failure means that the kidneys are no longer able to perform these functions, waste products build up in the body, and can lead to organ damage and eventually death if not handled properly.

On the other hand, kidney failure may not kill you. The other illnesses (e.g. high blood pressure, impaired heart function, diabetes, etc) that come with it may kill you and all of them can be treated. With proper medications, lifestyle changes, hemodialysis, and kidney transplant, people with kidney failure can still live for many years.

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How Long Can One Survive With Kidney Failure?

The answer to this question is not an easy one. In many cases, kidney failure can only be detected when the kidneys have already failed and one has a lot of symptoms that are going untreated. If a person has developed kidney failure and they are not on dialysis or a transplant list, then their death is imminent.

If both kidneys have failed but one is on dialysis, then the amount of time one has depends on how much kidney function they have left. If a person is on dialysis, then they are probably experiencing symptoms like fatigue and itchiness, but they can survive up to 5 years.

The medical information provided in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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If a person is on the kidney transplant list, it can take months or even years for a kidney to become available. The typical lifespan of a transplanted kidney is between 12 to 20 years. So, they might need more than one kidney transplant in their lifetime.

What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure?

Kidney failure does not just happen overnight. At the early stage, it will show you signs and symptoms like the following:

  • The urine will become darker in color and more concentrated. It may also be accompanied by a strong odor, which is caused by increased amounts of waste products such as urea, creatinine, and uric acid.
  • The urine may also be pink or red in color due to the presence of blood. This is a sign that your kidneys are not able to remove waste products from your blood.
  • The body is not able to get rid of fluid in the tissues and around the joints, causing swelling (edema).
  • There may be a feeling of tiredness and weakness. This is because you are not able to get rid of waste products from your body, so they build up in the blood.

Symptoms of kidney failure vary depending on the severity, but typically include:

  • Nausea and vomiting -Dark urine (which may contain blood)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nose bleeds
  • Muscle cramps
  • The need to urinate more often than usual and a decreased or inability to control the bladder.

Symptoms of kidney failure are often vague and may be mistaken for other conditions, so it is important to see a doctor right away if you have symptoms.

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The severity of kidney failure is measured by blood tests that indicate the level and type of waste products in your blood, such as urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine.

Treatment for kidney failure depends on the cause. If you have chronic kidney disease, your doctor may recommend a special diet and exercise to slow down the progression of damage to your kidneys.

If you have kidney failure due to diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you take medicine to control these conditions.

In some cases, a kidney transplant is needed.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that filter wastes, minerals, and fluid from the blood. Your kidneys also help regulate your body’s water balance and make hormones that control blood pressure. When the kidneys fail, waste products build up in the blood. This can make you feel tired and weak, cause nausea and vomiting, and lead to serious complications such as high blood pressure.

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How To Prevent Kidney Failure

how kidney disease progresses to kidney failure
how kidney disease progresses to kidney failure

A common misconception is that kidney failure will kill you quickly. It’s actually a slow, painful process that can take years to fully develop, and even then, the progression of your illness can be slowed down. According to CDC, the following are steps you can take to prevent kidney disease:

  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Get active. Physical activity helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Getting a checkup? Make sure to get your kidneys checked too.
  • Take medications as directed.
  • Keep your blood pressure below 140/90, or ask your doctor what the best blood pressure target is for you.
  • If you have diabetes, stay in your target blood sugar range as much as possible.
  • Stay in your target cholesterol range.
  • Eat foods lower in salt.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.

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If you have kidney failure or are at risk of developing kidney failure, the following are steps you can take to prevent further damage:

  • Lifestyle changes – to help you stay as healthy as possible.
  • Medicine – to control associated problems, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Dialysis – treatment to replicate some of the kidney’s functions, which may be necessary for advanced (stage 5) CKD.

Kidney disease is a slow process that usually develops over years. It’s important to protect your kidneys from further damage.


The kidneys are the organs that filter out waste and produce urine. When the kidneys do not work properly, a person may die from kidney failure in as little as a few days or up to three weeks. Kidney failure is a condition that affects millions of people each year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually show any signs until the disease has progressed far beyond the point where it can be reversed. This means that unless you’re already taking steps to prevent further damage, you probably won’t know that you have kidney failure until it’s too late.

As you can see, kidney failure isn’t something that you want to ignore. However, there are plenty of ways to reduce the chances of developing kidney problems in the future. So, if you haven’t yet taken action, now is the perfect time to start.

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