Kidneys are major organs of the body with complex biological roles to fulfill. Their most significant role, however, is to preserve and uphold the balance of bodily fluids by filtering out the waste byproducts of the metabolic process such as urea along with other superfluous mineral substances from the blood and access water to eliminate them as urine. The kidneys are finely attuned to sense plasma concentrations of various ions such as sodium, potassium, hydrogen and oxygen as well as compounds such as amino acids, creatinine, bicarbonate and glucose. Therefore, they are the body’s watchdogs of blood pressure, the metabolic process of glucose and the production of red blood cells.
Defining Kidney Failure
When any of the essential functions of the kidneys goes off course, it is said that the kidneys are going into failure. By definition, Kidney (also known as Renal) Failure is a diseased condition of the kidneys which stop working effectively, and it is classified as either acute (a.k.a. Acute Renal Failure that is distinguished by rapid and significant decrease in urination leading to fluid and electrolyte imbalances which can be stopped and reversed) or chronic (a.k.a. Chronic Kidney Disease which is characterized by its slow development and belated symptoms. The condition is irreversible). Whether it is acute or the chronic or the combination of the two (a.k.a. Acute on Chronic Renal Failure or AoCRF), Kidney Failure may be caused by a wide range of medical situations.
Caused of Kidney or Renal Failure
- Acute Renal Failure (ARF). Most frequently, ARF occurs due to a sudden stoppage or deprivation of normal blood supply to one or both kidneys such as in cases of accidents, injuries or surgeries that result in complications. ARF may also be the result of an over abundance of toxins in the kidneys such as in cases of drug overdose.
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). The causes of CKD are many but the most common of them are diabetes mellitus and untreated or uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure). Additional causes of CKD are polycystic kidney disease which tends to run in families; other genetic health conditions; as well as the excessive intake of such drugs as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Symptoms of Kidney Failure
Although the beginning stages of Kidney Failure may be asymptomatic, its ensuing stages and continued deterioration may bring out a wide array of symptoms such as:
- The kidneys’ inability to regulate the balances of water and electrolytes, to clear out waste products and to promote the production of red blood cells which may lead to anemia and low oxygenation of body cells result in patients experiencing exhaustion, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, generalized swelling and puffiness, reduced mental function and coma.
- The kidneys’ incapability to expel access potassium can ultimate results in a potentially life threatening disturbance of the heart’s rhythm which is also known as arrhythmia.
- The increasing levels of urea in the blood reach other organs and cause damages in the brain which can result in altered thought processes; in the heart to cause inflammation of its lining; and in the muscles to cause their deterioration.
- The body’s acidity rises and when reaching the lungs, breathing becomes rapid as the lungs labor to eliminate carbon dioxide.
- Excessive fluid may be built up in the lungs and lead to congestive heart failure.
Treatments for Kidney Failure
If gone untreated in a timely manner, Kidney Failure will lead to death. The following are some of the most often used treatments:
1/ Diet. Foods that are high in potassium (bananas, apricots and salt) as well as foods high in sodium and phosphorus (salt, dairy products, nuts and colas) must be either significantly limited or completely eliminated.
2/ Medications. A variety of medications may be prescribed to treat the symptoms of Kidney Failure and to stop its progression.