Glossary Of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): Urea nitrogen is a normal waste product in your blood that comes from the breakdown of protein from the foods you eat and from your body metabolism.  It is normally removed from your blood by your kidneys, but when kidney function slows down, the BUN level rises.  Normal BUN is between 7 and 18 mg/dL.

Diabetes: a disease in which the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use normal amounts of insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. A high blood sugar level can cause problems in many parts of the body.

Dialysis: one of the two types of treatment options for kidney failure.

  • Hemodialysis: a medical treatment where blood is removed from the body and filtered through a machine to remove waste, toxins and fluids.
  • Peritoneal Dialysis: a medical treatment where the waste, toxins and fluids are filtered through the peritoneum in the abdomen and removed through a catheter in the belly. 

Donor: Someone who gives one of their healthy organs to someone whose organ has failed.

Deceased Donor: A person who gives their organs after death.

Living Donor: A person who gives an organ while they are still alive.

Estimated glomerular filtration (eGFR): a number that assesses kidney function.  Normal eGFR is greater than 90.

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): Stage 5 of chronic kidney disease.  This is the most severe kind of kidney disease that means the patient will need treatment to replace their kidney function.  Treatment can be dialysis or a transplant.

Exchange: This term is used for peritoneal dialysis and is the process of inserting dialysate through a catheter into the belly for a period of time to filter waste through the belly lining and then removing the fluid from the body back through the catheter.

Glomerulonephritis: A renal disease marked by inflammation of the small blood vessels in the kidneys

HbA1c: A test that measures the concentration of sugar found in the blood over a three-month period.

Hemodialysis: a medical treatment where blood is removed from the body and filtered through a machine to remove waste, toxins and fluids.

High blood pressure: Also called hypertension.  This is marked by blood pressure higher than 120/80.

Hypertension: Also called high blood pressure. This is marked by blood pressure higher than 120/80.

Immunosuppressive medications: Medications a transplant recipient must take to suppress his/her immune system so that it will not attack and reject the new organ.

Kidney: a bean-shaped organ about the size of a fist that cleans a person’s blood and removes waste from the body. 

Living Donor: A person who gives an organ while they are still alive.

Peritoneal Dialysis: a medical treatment where the waste, toxins and fluids are filtered through the peritoneum in the abdomen and removed through a catheter in the belly. 

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): A genetic kidney disease marked by the presence of multiple cysts in one or both kidneys

Proteinuria: The presence of too much protein in a person’s urine.

Recipient: Someone who has received an organ transplant.

Renal: having to do with the kidneys

Renal Diet: special diet for dialysis patients to help you stay healthy and feel your best

Renal Insufficiency also known as chronic kidney disease: characterized by decreased kidney function over a period of time

Renal Function: kidney function

Renal Replacement Therapy: another name for dialysis, a treatment option for kidney failure patients that involves removing waste and excess fluid from the body

Serum Creatinine: Creatinine is a waste product in your blood that comes from muscle activity.  Kidneys normally remove the creatinine from your blood, but when kidney function declines, creatinine levels rise.  The creatinine level allows the doctor to evaluate your kidney function.  Normal creatinine for males is less than 1.4, and normal creatinine for females is less than 2.

Transplantation: When a person whose organ has failed gets a healthy organ from another person through transplant surgery.