Table of Contents
- 1 Definition of Renal Failure
- 2 Acute Renal Failure
- 3 Chronic Renal Failure
- 4 Symptoms and Diagnostic Path
- 5 Treatment Options and Outlook
- 6 Risk Factors and Preventive Measures
- 7 More Articles Related to Renal Failure - Acute and Chronic Renal Failure - Information
Definition of Renal Failure
Renal Failure – the inability of the kidneys to adequately filter toxins from the body. Generally the kidneys reach the point of renal failure when they have less than 15 percent functional capacity.
Failure can be acute (occur suddenly) or chronic (develop slowly over time). Though the term failure implies the condition is permanent, but this is not necessarily the case.
Most people who experience acute renal failure fully recover with appropriate treatment.
When the deterioration of kidney function is progressive and irreversible, however, renal failure is not only permanent but also eventually becomes complete. This irreversible condition is end-stage renal disease (esrd). A person who has ESRD requires long-term renal dialysis or kidney transplantation to sustain life.
Acute Renal Failure
Acute renal failure can occur in response to any circumstance that overwhelms the body, such as systemic infection, severe burns, or a toxic assault such as a drug overdose or massive exposure to a nephrotoxin. Dehydration and lack of blood flow to the kidney (such as may occur with severe atherosclerosis or a blood clot) also can cause acute renal failure.
Acute renal failure may require short-term dialysis to cleanse the blood while the kidneys recover as well as appropriate treatment for the cause of the renal failure.
Common Causes of Acute Renal Failure
|COMMON CAUSES OF ACUTE RENAL FAILURE|
|Acute nephritis||Alcohol poisoning|
|Heart failure||Heat stroke|
|Hemolytic uremic syndrome||Liver failure|
|Major surgery||Multisystem failure|
|Nephrotoxin exposure||Reaction to contrast dye|
Chronic Renal Failure
Chronic renal failure develops gradually over time, often years to decades. The most common causes of chronic renal failure are nephropathy of diabetes and nephropathy of hypertension (high blood pressure).
Other causes include long-term exposure to nephrotoxins, long-term daily use of nephrotoxic drugs such as nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (nsaids) and other analgesic medications (pain relievers), notably codeine. Chronic failure may also consist of repeated bouts of acute renal failure that leave minor residual damage.
Over time this damage becomes cumulative, causing scarring in the nephrons that impairs their ability to function.
About 20 million Americans live with chronic renal failure.
Common Causes of Chronic Renal Failure
|COMMON CAUSES OF CHRONIC RENAL FAILURE|
|Alport’s syndrome||Chronic hydronephrosis|
|Goodpasture’s syndrome||Heavy-metal poisoning|
|Organic solvent exposure||Polycystic kidney disease|
|Renal artery atherosclerosis||Renal cancer|
Symptoms and Diagnostic Path
Symptoms of renal failure depend on whether failure is acute or chronic. Acute failure typically causes neurologic symptoms. Anemia, hypertension (high blood pressure), congestive heart failure, and osteoporosis (loss of bone density and strength) often accompany chronic renal failure.
The diagnostic path includes urine and blood tests to assess kidney function, diagnostic imaging procedures such as ultrasound and computed tomography (ct) scan, and often kidney biopsy to microscopically examine the nephrons.
|RENAL FAILURE SYMPTOMS|
|Acute Renal Failure||Chronic Renal Failure|
|Confusion||Oliguria (diminished urine production)|
|Loss of consciousness||Headaches|
|Seizures||Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite|
Treatment Options and Outlook
Treatment targets the underlying cause. Acute renal failure requires immediate and intensive medical care, often including hemodialysis. Dietary modifications (such as reduced sodium, protein, and fluid intake) and medications to control conditions such as diabetes and hypertension allow many people to live with chronic renal failure for years to decades. When chronic renal failure progresses to ESRD, renal dialysis or kidney transplantation become necessary to sustain life.
Chronic renal failure in children impairs growth because it interferes with the ability of the kidneys to maintain calcium balance within the body and to produce erythrocytes (red blood cells). Without adequate calcium the bones cannot grow, resulting in short stature. Erythrocytes are necessary to carry oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients to cells throughout the body. Without these nutrients, cells slow their rate of division.
Doctors often prescribe calcitriol supplement, a form of vitamin D, for children who have chronic renal failure to improve the body’s ability to retain calcium. Many doctors also prescribe human growth hormone (HGH) supplement therapy to achieve normal growth patterns in children who have chronic renal failure, though not all doctors agree this is appropriate. Human growth hormone supplementation can have other deleterious effects on the body; it is important to balance such risks with the potential benefits.
Risk Factors and Preventive Measures
The major risk factors for chronic renal failure are diabetes and hypertension. Measures to reduce the risk for these conditions also lower the risk for kidney disease. Such measures include
- Nutritious eating habits
- Daily physical activity
- Smoking cessation
- Maintenance of healthy body weight
Diligent control of diabetes or hypertension if these conditions are present can slow their effects on the kidneys. Because chronic renal failure tends to be progressive, it is important to address symptoms of deteriorating kidney function promptly and aggressively for optimal quality of life.
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