Acute Renal Failure: An Overview
Kidney failure, also known as acute renal failure, has various warning signs everyone should be aware of. Kidney disease does not need to run in the family to affect anyone, though it will certainly increase an individual's overall risk of being affected. Many environmental factors contribute to kidney disease and acute renal failure, such as smoking, the consumption of alcohol, and many common foods. However, the most concerning nutrient to keep an eye on is the levels of sodium.
Of course, it is vital to understand the full overview of acute renal failure to be successful in managing such a condition. Get started on this now.
What Is Acute Renal Failure?
Acute renal failure is a serious health condition where the kidneys are no longer able to remove waste products from the blood the way they should, causing toxins in the blood to build up and body functions to decrease. Acute renal failure can progress rapidly once it starts. This condition usually affects individuals who already have compromised immune systems, patients in the hospital, and those over sixty-five years old, but perfectly healthy young individuals can also find themselves dealing with acute renal failure. Acute renal failure is a very serious condition and without proper medical care, it can lead to death. When treated correctly, patients can regain near-normal kidney function.
Continue reading to learn about the major symptoms linked to acute renal failure next.
What Are The Symptoms?
An individual affected by acute renal failure will present with several symptoms associated with significantly reduced kidney function. Symptoms of acute renal failure happen suddenly, usually over several hours, but it can be up to two days. Acute renal failure patients may have urine output with a very dark color and that is less in quantity and frequency than normal. Due to the buildup of toxins in the patient's blood, they may experience unexplained nausea and itchiness as well. Some individuals who develop acute renal failure will experience chest pain or pressure, confusion, swelling in the lower extremities, and shortness of breath. It is not uncommon to see an individual affected by acute renal failure experience a loss of appetite and an irregular heartbeat as well. Severe cases of acute renal failure may present with life-threatening symptoms such as loss of consciousness and seizures.
Get familiar with the causes of acute renal failure next.
Impaired Blood Flood Flow To Kidneys
One of the most prevalent causes of acute renal failure are mechanisms that produce impaired blood flow to the kidneys. Several different medical diseases and conditions can cause the impaired flow to the kidneys. Sudden loss of blood flow to the kidneys can occur due to a heart attack, liver failure, dehydration, allergic reaction, sepsis, severe burn, or heart disease. Many conditions that cause loss of blood flow to the kidneys are associated with the malfunction of the blood vessels. Renal artery stenosis causes the blood vessels that feed the kidneys to become too stiff to allow for proper blood flow. High blood pressure can cause damage to the renal arteries that may also cause them to become stiff and unable to facilitate the flow of blood.
Conditions that cause an abnormal buildup of fluid in the body or swelling can cause impaired flow of blood to the kidneys. The buildup of plaque can develop in the renal arteries, which causes reduced blood flow to the kidneys. When some mechanism causes a reduced amount of oxygenated blood to reach the kidneys, tissues in these organs become damaged and begin to die. This damage is what causes acute renal failure.
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Kidney Damage And Renal Failure
Kidney damage can occur over a long period, or it may occur with trauma, like an accident or other physical impact. Severe bleeding can cause significant kidney damage if the organs are left without a source of oxygen due to low blood volume. An individual can experience significant kidney damage if a blood clot forms and becomes stuck in one of the arteries responsible for providing blood to the kidneys. Severe kidney damage that leads to renal failure can be caused by inflammation of the filters in the kidneys caused by an infection or an autoimmune disorder. An individual who has an abnormal reaction to some medications or who has certain toxins or poison in their blood may experience severe kidney damage that can lead to renal failure. Kidney damage that lowers an individual's filtration rate is what is used to determine the degree of kidney disease or the stage of renal failure.
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Urine Blockage And Renal Failure
An individual who experiences a blockage that stops the normal flow of urine through their urinary tract can develop renal failure as a complication of their condition. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. An obstruction can occur in any part of the urinary tract, from the filters in the kidney to the end of the urethra. A urinary blockage can be the result of malignant or benign prostate enlargement, bladder stones, kidney stones, infection, blood clots, weakened bladder, enlarged uterus, abnormal congenital structures, lodged foreign body, benign or malignant tumor, or pelvic fracture trauma.
A urinary blockage can be diagnosed with the use of kidney x-rays, CAT scan, MRI scan, intravenous pyelogram, and kidney ultrasound. A blockage in the urinary tract causes urine to back up into the kidneys, which causes them to swell. The swelling from the excess fluid in the kidneys causes the tissue to become compressed, producing damage to the small filters that make up the organ. When a urinary blockage is left untreated, the resulting kidney damage can lead to renal failure.
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Complications Of Acute Renal Failure
Several potential complications can develop as a result of acute kidney failure. Acute kidney failure impairs the ability of the kidneys to filter out excess fluid from the blood. This excess fluid can leak into the tissues around the lungs and produce inflammation, causing symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain. An acute renal failure patient may experience weakness and other issues with their muscles due to an imbalance of electrolytes and fluids in their body. An individual who experiences acute renal failure may have permanent kidney damage that puts them into an irreversible state of end-stage renal disease. Individuals who have end-stage renal disease or kidney failure have to undergo dialysis until they can have a kidney transplant. Acute renal failure can cause death when it is left untreated.
Continue reading to learn how this condition can be detected and treated.
Detecting And Treating Renal Failure
The good news is acute renal failure is easy to detect with medical tests like urine output analyses, blood tests, and ultrasounds. Once this condition has been diagnosed, there are also several treatment options available. Most of the time acute renal failure patients are hospitalized while recovering due to the disease's severity. Treatments include, and are not limited to, rehydrating patients who are dehydrated or if they have too much fluid in their body, removing it, and removal of excess minerals from the blood with medications or dialysis. During the recovery process, individuals suffering from acute renal failure will need to make lifestyle changes like restrictive diets that limit salt, potassium, and phosphates to help lessen the pressure put on their kidneys.
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Preventing Acute Renal Failure
It’s hard to prevent acute renal failure, but there are some things most individuals can do to help lower their risk of developing this condition. Keeping hydrated is important to keep the kidneys functioning at optimum levels. Additionally, healthy lifestyle choices such as following a low sodium diet and exercising regularly help. It is also important to read the labels of over-the-counter treatments, and only take what is recommended. Ingesting too much acetaminophen or ibuprofen along with other over-the-counter medications or supplements can cause acute renal failure. It is also important to visit the doctor regularly, particularly for those at an increased risk of acute renal failure.