medical IDs for kidney disease

Medical IDs for Kidney Disease

The confidence to live with kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic renal failure, is a progressive condition that eventually leads to kidney failure. People with chronic kidney disease may need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay healthy.

Those living with a chronic kidney condition may not think they need a medical bracelet, especially if they are successfully managing it. However, in an emergency, first responders and emergency care professionals will need to know how to care for you – so that you receive the best possible care, at the moment you need it.

That’s why medical IDs for kidney disease are so helpful for those living with chronic renal conditions.

How MedicAlert protects those who are living with kidney disease

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s an emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with kidney disease.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

Patient Instructions

Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.

Pair a medical ID for kidney disease with the protection plan that’s right for you.

What is kidney disease?

The kidneys play a crucial role in the body – they filter the blood, keeping some compounds while removing others, control the production of red blood cells, make vitamins that control growth, release hormones that help regulate blood pressure, help regulate blood pressure, red blood cells, and the amount of certain nutrients in the body, such as calcium and potassium. The kidneys also remove waste and excess fluid from the body.

Chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic renal failure, is a progressive condition that eventually leads to kidney failure. People with chronic kidney disease may need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay healthy.  

5 stages of kidney disease

Medical-alert accessories, typically a bracelet, serve to transmit critical information about CKD to a health care provider, especially when the wearer is not able to reliably communicate.

Symptoms of kidney disease

Many chronic kidney disease symptoms are difficult to notice until they become severe, as there may be many possible causes. Symptoms like fatigue and difficulty sleeping or concentrating can be attributed to many other issues in everyday life.  

However, other symptoms, like frequent urination at night, swollen feet or ankles, puffy eyes, and dry skin that feels scaly are more unusual and sometimes cause people to search for solutions. Once kidney disease is suspected, a doctor can perform kidney function tests, which may involve blood and urine tests, imaging, and/or a biopsy.  

Kidney Disease and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can narrow and constrict blood vessels, eventually damaging and weakening vessels throughout the body. The narrowing reduces blood flow throughout the body, and this reduction in flow affects the kidneys and their function.

If blood vessels in one’s kidneys are damaged, the kidneys are not able to remove extra fluid and wastes from your body. Extra fluid in the blood vessels can raise your blood pressure even more, creating a dangerous cycle leading to more possible kidney damage or failure.

What to engrave on your MedicAlert medical ID for kidney disease:

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our kidney disease bracelets and other medical ID products. The engraving on your medical ID for kidney disease should include any critical medical information that can protect and save your life if you are in an accident or have a medical emergency, for example:

  • Allergies
  • CKD or Kidney disease 
  • Other medical conditions
  • Medications you’re currently taking
  • Any additional medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders
medical IDs for kidney disease

Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for kidney disease.

Treatments for kidney disease

Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic kidney disease. However, medications may be prescribed to help manage symptoms like excessive swelling from fluid buildup. High blood pressure medication might also be prescribed.  

Once kidney disease progresses, dialysis (artificial filtration of the blood) is typically necessary. Ideally, those with end-stage renal disease will receive a kidney transplant. Only one kidney is necessary for the body’s normal functions, so live donation is an option.  

As with any medical condition, you should consult your doctor for specific instructions on managing your condition.

Conditions and medical abbreviations related to kidney disease

You’ll likely see a few different medical abbreviations used to discuss kidney disease during the diagnostic process. Some of the most common include:

The term “chronic” is used to distinguish damage to kidneys occurring slowly over a long period of time.

Chronic kidney disease happens when a condition or disease impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years.

Diseases and conditions that can lead to chronic kidney disease include:

  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering glomeruli
  • High blood pressure
  • Interstitial nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s structures
  • Polycystic kidney disease or other inherited kidney diseases
  • Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones and some cancers
  • Recurrent kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis
  • Vesicoureteral reflux, a condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys

End-stage renal failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), is the final stage of chronic kidney disease. This is when kidney function has declined to the point that the kidneys can no longer function on their own. Someone with end-stage renal failure must receive dialysis or kidney transplantation in order to survive for more than a few weeks.

Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disease that involves damage to the glomeruli (tiny filters) inside one’s kidneys. With glomerulonephritis, kidneys can have trouble removing waste and fluid. If the condition becomes severe, it can lead to kidney failure. 

There can be acute glomerulonephritis or chronic glomerulonephritis. Some people can have an acute attack and then a chronic condition years later.

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes many cysts to grow in the kidneys. PKD cysts cause problems with blood vessels in the brain and heart, as well as high blood pressure. Cysts in the liver can also occur with PKD.

PKD affects people of all ages, races, and ethnicities worldwide. The disorder occurs equally in women and men. PKD is one of the most common genetic disorders. PKD affects about 500,000 people in the United States. 

Autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD) is usually diagnosed in adulthood, whereas  autosomal recessive PKD (ARPKD) can be diagnosed during pregnancy or shortly after a baby is born.

Diabetes is the most frequent cause of chronic kidney disease in most of the industrialized world. Kidney disease in people with diabetes can be caused by multiple factors, including diabetic changes in the kidneys as well as vascular changes due to hypertension. People with diabetes have high blood glucose which can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney disease.

When people are diagnosed with diabetes, they may already have hypertension, which is an additional risk factor for diabetic kidney disease because high blood pressure also damages the kidneys.

With DKD it can be particularly important to have medical IDs for kidney disease with ‘DKD’ included in order to make sure you receive the most helpful medical attention as quickly as possible.

Kidney transplant

The kidneys are each about the size of a fist and located on either side of the spine just below the rib cage. Their main function is to filter and remove waste, minerals and fluid from the blood by producing urine.

A kidney transplant is a surgery to place a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly.

When kidneys lose the ability to filter, harmful levels of waste and fluid accumulate in the body, which tends to raise blood pressure and result in kidney failure (end-stage renal disease).  This set of conditions calls for either ongoing dialysis or kidney transplant.

It is best to explore transplant before someone needs to start dialysis. This way you might be able to get a transplant ‘pre-emptively,’ before needing dialysis.

If you or a loved one does require dialysis, it’s a good idea to have a dialysis bracelet –that is, adding “dialysis” to an existing or new medical ID. This drastically improves positive outcomes for anyone who may experience a medical emergency.

There is a long involved process before the procedure itself, including matching and finding a proper donor. 

For the procedure itself, a kidney transplant is done under general anesthesia. The anesthetic will be delivered to your body through an IV line in your hand or arm.

Once you’re unconscious, an incision is made in the abdomen and the donor kidney is placed inside. The surgeon then connects the arteries and veins from the kidney to your arteries and veins.

Also the new kidney’s ureter will be attached to your bladder so that you’re able to urinate normally. 

There are many variables, especially the related health conditions of the person. Since kidney transplant doesn’t resolve underlying issues, for many people, those issues continue to cause problems in the kidneys.

People can live for many years after receiving a transplanted kidney and you should not think that averages are a prognosis. That said, on average, a kidney from a living donor tends to last about 12 to 20 years, while a kidney from a deceased donor tends to last about eight to 12 years. 

Many people with kidney disease who are going through or have gone through the transplant process wear medical IDs for kidney disease and/or organ transplant, to help ensure they receive the most appropriate medical care in time-sensitive emergencies.

Post-surgery kidney transplant bracelet

Whether your kidney disease has not yet progressed or you’re on dialysis and hoping for a transplant, you would benefit from a medical ID bracelet now and even after a kidney transplant.

After you get a kidney transplant, wearing a kidney is very important. With any organ transplant, you’ll likely be on anti-rejection medications, which can suppress your immune system. It’s always important for emergency professionals to know your transplant status, the medications you’re taking and your complete medical history. A kidney transplant bracelet is the perfect tool to keep you protected after your surgery.  

Chronic Kidney Disease and Kidney Failure Emergencies

If you normally receive kidney dialysis at an outpatient center, it’s important that you plan ahead for disasters and emergencies that might make it difficult or impossible to keep up with your kidney dialysis treatment. Having an emergency action plan in place can help lessen the stress and worry that comes with reacting to an emergency.

It’s best to complete and have on-hand a patient ID card. Such a card is meant to help you organize and communicate basic information about yourself and your dialysis prescription to first responders and a receiving dialysis treatment facility, but shouldn’t replace medical records and other ID cards you may also need to bring with you.

In addition to the information on the ID card, write down these important phone numbers:

  • For immediate assistance: Kidney Community Emergency Response hotline: 1-866-901-3773
    • National Kidney Foundation help line: 1-855-NKF-CARES (1-855-653-2273)
  • 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

If you have to miss a treatment, follow the Kidney Community Emergency Response 3-Day Emergency Diet.

While this diet does not replace dialysis, it can help reduce the amount of waste that builds up in your blood. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Talk to your doctor about whether a 3-Day Emergency Diet is right for you and, if so, what foods and liquids to include and which to avoid.
  • Buy enough of the appropriate foods and drinks to last six days so that you can repeat the 3-Day Emergency Diet, as needed.

Some dialysis patients take medication to help control the level of potassium in their blood. It’s a good idea to have an extra emergency dose set aside for a week or more. You can also talk to your doctor or pharmacist about creating an emergency supply of prescription medications. 

  • Keep an up-to-date list of all medications that includes information on diagnosis, dosage, frequency, known allergies, and medical supply needs.
  • Know the shelf lives and proper storage temperatures for your medications.
Help with navigating the daily balancing act of caregiving.
At age four, he started to experience seizures that would occur several times each day. When he was diagnosed with epilepsy, his doctor recommended that Connor start to wear a MedicAlert bracelet. His mother, Amy Doran, said that his MedicAlert membership gives her a peace of mind knowing that when they aren’t together...

How medical IDs for kidney disease combined with MedicAlert  Membership provide protection

Those living with a chronic kidney condition may not think they need a kidney disease bracelet, especially if they are successfully managing it. However, in an emergency, first responders and emergency care professionals will need to know how to care for you – so that you receive the best possible care, at the moment you need it.

  • We’re your voice:  If you can’t speak for yourself due to an accident or other medical emergency, your ID will speak for you – informing others about your kidney disease and any medications you’re taking.
  • 24/7 emergency protection:  In an emergency, the MedicAlert team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders, no matter where or when your emergency happens.
  • Always connected:  You should never be alone in an emergency. That’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your designated contacts if you are unable to do so.
  • Live with peace of mind and confidence:  MedicAlert will be there for you every step of the way. You’ll have the confidence and freedom to live your life with kidney disease, knowing we’ve got you covered. 
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.