What is Renal Failure?
An injury of the kidney that causes the kidneys to stop working unexpectedly and suddenly is known as renal failure. The failure of the kidney results in accumulation of waste material (electrolytes) and this accumulation can also cause some harmful effects on the body. The symptoms of renal failure indicate the presence of a kidney related problem. Usually the older people faces the problem of renal failure who have a history of heart failure, obesity, history of diabetes, accelerated blood pressure and kidney or liver conditions. When the kidneys permanently fail to work then it is considered as the last stage of renal disease.
Causes of Acute Renal Failure
Some of the causes of acute renal failure include –
- A sudden blockage that obstructs the flow of the urine out of the kidneys: There could be sudden blockage due to kidney stones, an enlarged prostate gland, a tumor or by an injury.
- A serious and sudden drop in the flow of the blood to the kidneys: Any injury, heavy blood loss or bad infection known as sepsis may decrease the flow of the blood to the kidneys.
- Damage from certain infections, medicines or poisons: It has been seen that many people don’t face any problem from taking medicines. But some people who are suffering from serious health problems can face kidney problem from medicines such as certain types of pain medicines, dyes used in few x-ray tests, antibiotics and also some blood pressure medicines.
Symptoms of Acute Renal Failure
- Swelling in feet and legs
- Pain in the back under the rib cage and is this pain is known as flank pain
- Vomiting and nausea
- Little or no urine while urinating
- Anxious, sleepy, restless and confused feeling
- Not feeling like eating
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
A condition where there is gradual loss of functions of the kidney over a period of time is known as chronic kidney disease. This disease can cause anemia, nerve damage, high blood pressure, poor nutritional health and weak bones. CKD increases the chance of developing blood vessel and heart disease. When CKD reaches to its advance stage then it can cause kidney failure, that requires kidney transplant or dialysis.
Chronic Kidney Disease Stages
- Chronic Renal Insufficiency: This is considered as the first stage where damage is caused to an organ. In this stage there are only minimal effects on the body.
- Chronic Renal Failure: This is considered as the second stage where the kidney may result in many problems in the entire body. There is over accumulation of the waste products in the blood that include phosphate, urea and creatinine. Bone disease, fluid retention, anemia and acidosis are some of the common effects of chronic renal failure.
- End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): This is the end stage of renal disease that requires kidney transplant or dialysis.
Diagnosis of Acute Renal Failure
Following tests are performed for diagnosing renal failure –
- Renal Ultrasound or Sonography: This is a non-invasive test performed for determining shape and size of the kidney, cyst, abnormalities or obstruction, kidney stone and also for detecting a mass.
- Computed Tomography Scan (a CT or CAT scan): This test is performed by using a combination of computer technology and x-rays for producing cross-sectional images of the body that are taken vertically and horizontally. A CAT scan provides detailed images of the body parts that include fat, bones, organs and muscles. This test is considered as more precise than from usual x-rays.
- Urine Tests
- Kidney Biopsy: During the test, tissue samples are removed either during the surgery or with the help of needle from the body. This is done for examining this tissue under a microscope, for determining abnormal cells or cancer.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests are performed for determining kidney function, blood cell counts and electrolyte levels.
Treatment for Chronic and Renal Failure
The treatment depends on overall health, age and medical history of a patient that may include –
- A patient is first required to stay in the hospital
- Specific diet requirements
- Medications or diuretic therapy are done for increasing urine output
- Medications are given for controlling blood pressure
- In order to replace the depleted blood volume, intravenous fluids are given in large volumes
- A doctor closely examines some of the important electrolytes that include calcium, potassium and sodium.
The extent of kidney function determines the specific treatment for chronic renal failure that include –
- Kidney transplantation
- Medications that help with growth and prevent bone density loss, and also treat anemia
- Medications or diuretic therapy for increasing urine output
- Specific diet restrictions