Dr Kumar's BASIC HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
Kidney failure occurs when these organs cease to remove toxic wastes from the blood and excrete the same in the urine. Though there are mainy causes of kidney failure, it invariably follows one of these two courses > Acute kidney failure comes on suddenly. There is an abrupt decrease in urination and widespread swelling all over the body (edema). Warning signs include unexplained weight gain of about 2 or more pounds a day, facial puffiness, nausea, and marked weakness. As the failure progresses, even the person's breath may develop a urine-like odor. This definitely is a life-threatening medical emergency, yet most of the patients eventually recover almost full kidney function. About 60% of such cases are associated with surgery or an injury that causes sudden shock. Other precipitating conditions may include severe kidney infection or injury, dehydration or heatstroke, poisoning, severe burns, and even failure of some other organ systems. Acute kidney failure may also be a complication of pregnancy, especially if the mother has pre-eclampsia, or uremic toxemia. Chronic kidney failure develops slowly and is usually irreversible. The early stages may produce no noticeable symptoms. As the condition worsens, fatigue, lethargy, and headaches may occur, possibly with muscle twitches, cramps, numbness, or pain in the arms or legs. In contrast of the weight gain of acute renal failure, the patient experiences loss of appetite & weight, nausea, vomiting, and a bad taste in the mouth.
Glomerulonephritis, in which the kidney's filtering units (nephrons) are gradually destroyed by chronic inflammation, is the most common cause of chronic kidney failure. Other causes include poorly controlled diabetes, high blood pressure, prolonged use of NSAIDs, and such kidney disorders as hereditary polycystic kidney disease.
The diagnostic procedures for renal failure (acute or chronic) require a complete physical examination, as well as urine & blood tests, X-rays, kidney scans, and in some cases, even a kidney biopsy.
In most cases, kidney failure is caused by other health
problems that have done permanent damage (harm) to your kidneys little by
little, over time. When your kidneys are damaged, they may not work as
well as they should. If the damage to your kidneys continues to get worse
and your kidneys are less and less able to do their job, you have chronic
kidney disease. Kidney failure is the last (most severe) stage of chronic
kidney disease. This is why kidney failure is also called end-stage renal
disease, or ESRD for short. Diabetes is the most common cause of
ESRD. High blood pressure is the second most common cause of ESRD. Other
problems that can cause kidney failure include : autoimmune diseases,
such as lupus and IgA nephropathy, genetic diseases, such as
polycystic kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, urinary tract
Sometimes the kidneys can stop working very suddenly
(within two days). This type of kidney failure is called acute kidney
injury or acute renal failure. Common causes of acute renal failure
include: heart attack, drug abuse, not enough blood flowing to the
kidneys, urinary tract problems. This type of kidney failure is not always
permanent and kidneys may attain normal to almost normal functioning with
treatment, especially if you do not have other serious health problems.
Having one of the health problems that can lead to kidney failure does not
mean that you will definitely have kidney failure. Living a healthy
lifestyle and working with your doctor to control these health problems
can help your kidneys work for as long as possible.