Causes of Kidney Failure
A leading kidney specialist in Dwarka explains…
What is kidney failure?
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Your kidneys are a pair of organs located towards the lower back, one on each side of your spine. Their functions are filtering blood and removing toxins from your body. Kidneys also send toxins to your bladder from where they are removed during urination.
Kidney failure is when your kidneys lose the ability to properly filter out waste from your blood. Many factors may interfere with your kidney health and functioning.
Symptoms of kidney failure
In most cases people with kidney failure will have a few symptoms and there may be no symptoms in some cases. But here are some common symptoms:
- a lesser than usual amount of urine
- swelling on the legs, ankles, and feet
- unusual shortness of breath
- excess lethargy and fatigue
- chest pain
Symptoms of early kidney disease can be difficult to point out as they are subtle and can be confused with other diseases. Generally reduced urine, swollen limbs and shortness of breath are the most common.
Kidney failure can happen due to several conditions or causes. The causes determine the kind of kidney failure.
Loss of blood supply to the kidneys
A sudden loss of blood going to to your kidneys can trigger kidney failure. Heart attacks and disease, liver failure, dehydration, burns, allergic reactions and infections like sepsis can cause this.
Urine elimination trouble
When a body can’t eliminate urine in part or at all, toxins deposit and overload the kidneys. Some cancers can also cause this and conditions that may interfere with urination and possibly cause kidney failure like kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and blood clotting in the urinary tract.
Types of kidney failure
There are five types of kidney failure:
Acute pre-renal kidney failure
Lesser blood flow to the kidneys can cause this type of kidney failure, as the kidneys won’t be able to filter out toxins without enough blood flow. This kidney failure is usually curable.
Acute intrinsic kidney failure
This happens due to direct trauma to the kidneys, for example physical impact or accidents. Causes like toxin overload and ischemia (a lack of oxygen to the kidneys).
Chronic prerenal kidney failure
When there isn’t sufficient blood flowing into the kidneys for a prolonged period of time, the kidneys shrink and lose their functionality.
Chronic intrinsic kidney failure
This occurs when there’s long-term damage to the kidneys from intrinsic kidney disease that develops because of direct trauma to the kidneys, from severe bleeding or lack of oxygen.
Chronic post-renal kidney failure
A long-term blocked urinary tract prevents urination and this can lead to pressure and eventual kidney damage.
Kidney failure tests
There are several tests you can get on the recommendation of your doctor to diagnose kidney failure. Urinalysis, Urine volume measurements, Blood samples, Imaging and Kidney tissue sample are the most common.
Stages of kidney failure
Kidney failure is divided into five broad stages. These can range from very mild (in stage 1) to total kidney failure (stage 5). Symptoms and complications also increase as the stages advance.
This stage is the mildest and people might experience no symptoms at all and see no no visible complications.
It’s very possible to manage and slow this progression by leading a healthy lifestyle. This includes having a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco products. Maintaining ideal weight is advised as well.
This is still considered a mild form, but complications like protein in urine or physical damage to the kidneys may become apparent.
The same lifestyle approaches that helped in stage 1 are still used in stage 2.
By this stage the disease is considered moderate but the kidneys aren’t functioning as well as they should.
Symptoms can become visibly apparent at this stage. Swollen hands and feet, back pain, and changes in urination are likely.
Lifestyle approaches may help and Your doctor may also prescribe medications to treat other conditions that could quicken kidney failure.
The disease is now considered moderate to severe. The kidneys aren’t at a hundred percent well, but they haven’t failed altogether yet. Symptoms can range from complications like anaemia, high blood pressure to bone disease.
A healthy lifestyle is still crucial but you will likely have to take treatment designed to slow damage.
By stage 5, your kidneys are very close to or are, in complete failure. Symptoms will be very evident. These include vomiting, nausea, trouble breathing, itchy skin, and more.
At this stage dialysis and kidney transplant are needed.