Renal failure is defined as the loss of renal function. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood to be excreted in the urine. When there is damage to these vital organs, they can no longer perform their normal duties, which can lead to life-threatening changes within the body.
Renal Failure Symptoms
One of the first signs that renal failure is present is an increase in blood pressure. The kidneys help regulate blood flow and pressure throughout the body, so without this function, it can lead to a rise in systolic and diastolic numbers.
Another sign that something may be wrong with a person’s kidneys is a decrease in urine frequency. Without the kidneys to remove excess fluid, that excess starts to build up in the body, rather than being expelled from the body. This fluid surplus often causes swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet.
Other symptoms of renal failure include:
- Swelling in the hands and feet
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting and nausea
- Appetite loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Difficulty breathing (due to fluid build-up)
- Itching around the eyes and nose
- Dry skin
- Soreness around the mouth
- Darkening in skin color.
These symptoms may present themselves sporadically or all at once, depending on the severity of the damage to a person’s kidneys.
Difference Between Acute Renal Failure and Chronic Kidney Failure
Chronic kidney failure and acute renal failure are very similar conditions, where the kidneys no longer function properly. The difference is that chronic kidney failure is a condition where the kidneys’ ability to filter waste and toxins from the bloodstream gradually worsens over time, generally over a few years. In contrast, acute renal failure is the sudden loss of kidney function, often in just a few days.
Acute renal failure can occur because something has halted the blood flow to your kidneys, you have a condition that is blocking urine from leaving your kidneys, or something has caused direct damage to your kidneys.
Acute Renal Failure Risk Factors
Kidney failure often occurs with other medical ailments. You may be more likely to experience acute renal failure if you have any of the following conditions:
- Age (65+)
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Chronic kidney disease
Renal Failure Treatment
If there are any underlying conditions or illnesses that have caused renal failure, doctors will first treat those problems. Infections can be treated with medication and blockages can be removed by surgery. If there are no underlying problems, the kidneys may heal themselves. However, if renal failure is caught early, there are a few ways to treat the condition.
To limit the duress on your kidneys, your doctor will recommend limiting your salt and potassium intake, as both of these substances are filtered through the kidneys. Your fluid intake may also be restricted.
Although medications cannot heal your kidneys, they can help some of the issues that kidney failure causes. Your doctor may prescribe medications that regulate the amount of phosphorus and potassium in your blood, which kidneys are unable to filter if they are not working properly.
If your kidney damage is severe enough due to your acute renal failure, you may need to undergo dialysis. Dialysis is a treatment option that rids your body of unwanted toxins, waste products, and excess fluids by purifying the blood. While your kidneys heal, dialysis is a viable option so that your blood levels remain healthy.
Renal failure can be prevented by following dietary guidelines and maintaining regular visits with one’s primary care physician to monitor blood pressure and overall health condition.
Contact Summit Medical Clinic
If you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering from renal failure, or you think that you may be at an increased risk for developing renal failure, contact Summit Medical Clinic today to learn more about kidney disease.