Kidney failure

Renal failure is a disease characterized by a partial or complete loss of the excretory function of the kidneys.

It is possible to occur suddenly, as well as due to chronic diseases. There are two forms of the disease, acute and chronic.

In the acute form, the loss of kidney function occurs quickly and may be due to various hemorrhages in the body. The causes are classified depending on the main reason for the occurrence of the damage.

Kidneys may lose function as a result of reduced blood flow to them, which may be due to:

• Hypovolemia – reduced volume of blood in the body, due to blood loss;

• Dehydration due to loss of body fluids eg vomiting, diarrhoea, profuse sweating or fever;

• Insufficient fluid intake;

• Medicines – for example, diuretics, which can cause too much water loss from the body.

• Abnormal blood flow to and from the kidneys due to blockage of the renal artery or vein.

Kidney dysfunction can also develop due to damage to the kidney tissue itself, the possible causes of this are:

Sepsis – the body’s immune system from infection and causes inflammation and disruption of kidney function. This usually does not happen with a urinary tract infection;

Medications – some drugs are toxic to the kidneys, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Other potentially toxic medications are antibiotics such as aminoglycosides, lithium, iodine-containing medications such as those that are injected into tissues during certain tests.

• Rhabdomyolysis – this is a rare condition where severe damage to the body’s muscle tissue occurs and the damaged muscle fibers block the kidney’s filtering system.

It can occur due to trauma, injuries caused by strong pressure – when pinched with an object and due to burns. Also, some drugs that are used to treat high cholesterol can lead to rhabdomyolysis

• Multiple myeloma;

• Acute glomeronephritis or inflammation of the glomeruli – the filtering system of the kidneys. A number of diseases can lead to this inflammation, for example systemic lupus erythematosus, Wegener’s granulomatosis and Goodpasture’s syndrome.

• Obstruction of the bladder or ureters – can cause back pressure because the kidneys continue to produce urine;

• Prostate hypertrophy or cancer – may block the urethra and prevent bladder emptying;

• Kidney stones – usually affect only one kidney and can cause loss of function only;

• Tumors in the abdominal area – which surround and press on the ureter;

The most common causes of the chronic form of the disease are:

• Incorrectly treated or untreated diabetes;
• Untreated high blood pressure;
• Chronic glomerulonephritis;

Less common causes of the chronic form are:

• Polycystic kidneys;
• Kidney stones;
• Prostate disease;
• Reflux nephropathy;

What are the symptoms of kidney failure?

Initially, the disease may be asymptomatic, that is, it does not cause the appearance of any clinical manifestations.

When kidney function weakens, symptoms are associated with an inability to regulate the body’s water and electrolyte balance and to clear waste products from the body.

Also, the loss of kidney function causes an inability to stimulate the production of red blood cells.

The affected person may feel faint, experience muscle weakness, shortness of breath and develop generalized swelling. If the disease is not detected in time, life-threatening circumstances such as multiple organ failure can occur.

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