Kidney damage is usually permanent and cannot be reversed, according to MedlinePlus. However, kidney disease can be controlled with medication and diet. If kidney disease progresses and kidney failure is imminent, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required.
Treating the underlying cause of kidney disease in hopes of slowing the progression of the disease is usually most effective, states Mayo Clinic. However, this is not always feasible, and kidney failure can progress regardless. Treatments consist of controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, anemia and swelling. Supplements to provide adequate vitamin D and calcium to protect the bones are generally required, as are medications that control the amount of phosphates in the blood to prevent calcium deposits from forming. A doctor may also suggest reducing the stress placed on the kidneys by eating a low-protein diet.
During end-stage kidney disease, Mayo Clinic recommends either dialysis or a kidney transplant. At this point, the kidneys are no longer able to filter waste products from the blood on their own. Dialysis artificially removes waste from the body through a machine or catheter that must be periodically drained, while a kidney transplant is accompanied by medications that prevent the body from rejecting the new organ. Once the kidneys fail completely, life expectancy shortens to a couple weeks.