Kidney failure

The kidneys are a vital part of the body and perform many roles in the functioning of the body. The kidneys filter the blood of waste materials and balance the level of electrolytes, help the body in producing red blood cells and also controlling the blood pressure in the body.

When kidney failure occurs it can come from a chronic problem, from a sudden loss of kidney function or an acute renal failure. The causes of kidney failure are often categorized by where the kidney failure happened. For instance, prerenal causes are ones that occur before the kidney. Hypovolemia causes kidney failure due to blood loss. Dehydration that occurs for many reasons such as vomiting, fever, and diarrhea will also cause kidney failure. Some medications have a diuretic effect on the body and can result in too much fluid loss and problems with the kidneys.

If there is damage to the kidney itself, there will be renal failure. Sepsis is caused by an infection that overtakes the immune system which will cause the kidneys to shut down. There are also medications that can cause damage to the kidneys as well. Drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, lithium, tobramycin, and medications that contain iodine can all be toxic to the kidneys.

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that causes the kidneys to become clogged with muscle fibers as the muscles breakdown in the body. This can occur when there is a trauma to the muscles, and some medications that treat cholesterol can cause this breakdown to occur as well.

Kidney failure can also occur post renal or after the kidney. These conditions happen when there is a blockage or failure for the body to output urine. An obstruction in the bladder can cause the urine to become backed up and put pressure on the kidneys. Eventually the kidneys will shut down in these cases.

Tumors in the abdomen and kidney stones are conditions that can affect the output of urine and cause damage to the kidneys. Prostate cancer and conditions that block urine through the urethra and stop the bladder from completely emptying are also causes of kidney failure.

There may be no symptoms in the beginning stages of kidney failure, but over time as the condition worsens the condition will become more apparent. Fatigue, weakness and shortness of breath can be the first signs of kidney failure. In time if kidney failure is not treated, there could be significant widespread organ failure, including the brain. Thinking may become incoherent and a coma could result.

Diagnosis of kidney failure is made through blood tests that will detect the waste materials in the blood that are not being processed by the kidneys. It is important that treatment begin immediately to prevent further damage. Prevention is the number one treatment for kidney failure and it is most important in those who suffer from diabetes and hypertension. To prevent kidney damage from occurring, those with diabetes or hypertension must constantly monitor their blood glucose levels and blood pressure. When kidney failure is detected, the underlying cause of the failure must be treated to prevent further failures. It may not be possible to return the kidneys back to their original functioning, but stopping further damage is possible.

A special diet is given to those with kidney failure as well as medications. The medications that are used include phosphorus lowering medications, medications that are used to stimulate the production of red blood cells and blood pressure medications are some of the treatments that are prescribed for kidney failure.

Dialysis is used to clean the blood when there is extensive kidney failure. The typical dialysis treatment for kidney failure takes place three times a week and will usually take a few hours. Patients usually will have to go to the hospital to have their dialysis treatment, but some are able to have treatment in their home.

Last updated on Aug 8th, 2009 and filed under Genitourinary Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed