Practical Information on Acute Kidney Failure

Also called acute kidney injury, acute kidney failure refers to the sudden loss of the kidney’s ability to function properly. Its primary function of eliminating excessive fluids, salts and toxic water materials from the blood is inhibited in this condition. When this happens, dangerous levels of waste and fluids accumulate in the body. Since this is fatal, it requires intensive medical care and treatment. Although it is often irreversible, some are able to recover to normal functioning of the kidneys with immediate proper treatment.

Symptoms of acute kidney failure include decrease in urine output, fluid retention (especially in the legs, ankles or feet), drowsiness, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, nausea, seizures, chest pain or pressure, and coma in severe cases. In some patients, the kidney failure doesn’t come with any sign or symptoms and is only detected through laboratory tests for other medical conditions.

The primary cause of this condition is instability of the kidneys that prevent them from filtering the wastes in your blood. This can happen when the kidneys are damaged or when another medical condition hinders sufficient flow of blood to these organs. Another way by which this can occur is when the wastes filtered by the kidney are not expelled from the body through the urine.

Diseases that can hinder flow of blood to the kidneys include blood loss, blood pressure medications, heart attack, heart disease, infection, liver cirrhosis, anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, allergic reactions, severe dehydration, and severe burns.

Diseases that cause damage to the kidneys include blood clots in the veins and arteries surrounding the kidneys, cholesterol deposits in the blood, glomerulonephritis, hemolytic uremic syndrome, infection, lupus, medications like chemotherapy drugs and antibiotics, multiple myeloma, scleroderma, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, toxins such as alcohol, heavy metals and cocaine, and vasculitis.

Diseases that block urine from being expelled by the body include bladder cancer, blood clots in the urinary tract, cervical cancer, colon cancer, enlarged prostate, kidney stones, nerve damage, and prostate cancer.

Other factors that increase the risk of kidney failure include age, blockage in the blood vessels of the arms and legs, diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, and liver diseases.

As mentioned earlier, acute kidney failure is a serious and fatal condition that requires immediate intensive care in the hospital. Treatment to be performed by the doctor will have to depend on the root cause of the kidney failure. The doctor will work to treat the complications until your kidneys are fully recovered. Medications that balance the amount of fluid in the blood, control blood potassium, and restore proper levels of blood calcium may be given. Dialysis may also be in order. This treatment involves removal of toxins from the blood while your kidneys take time to recover.

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