Kidney failure is a health condition where either one or both kidneys stop functioning optimally. This is also known as renal failure. Dialysis or kidney transplant is the only solution to treat kidney failure.
Like every other organ of our body, the kidneys play a vital role in helping the body function properly. Kidneys are responsible for performing functions like eliminating toxins from the body, filtering blood, and removing waste from the body in the form of urine.
They are equal to the size of a fist and are bean-shaped in structure. Most people have two functioning kidneys, but you can even survive on one if it’s working perfectly.
However, if the kidneys stop functioning effectively, it could lead to waste build-up inside the body that could result in severe diseases and other health conditions that can be fatal.
What Is The Reason Behind Kidney Failure?
Some of the leading causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. Besides that, kidneys might stop functioning abruptly due to acute kidney failure, which is usually temporary.
Here are some of the causes of acute kidney failure:
- Autoimmune kidney diseases.
- Extreme dehydration.
- Medication treatment.
- Urinary tract obstruction.
- Chronic disease-related to heart or liver.
However, a person doesn’t experience kidney failure suddenly. It is a result of chronic kidney disease that goes untreated for a very long time.
Chronic kidney disease when combined with high blood pressure and diabetes leads to kidney failure. Unsupervised diabetes tends to increase blood sugar levels in the body that damage organs including kidneys.
Whereas high blood pressure or hypertension makes the blood travel through blood vessels with extreme pressure that damages the kidneys’ tissue.
Here are some of the causes of chronic kidney disease:
- Polycystic kidney disease is a hereditary condition that gives birth to cysts also called fluid-filled sacs inside the kidneys.
- The glomerular disease disrupts the waste management of the kidney.
- An autoimmune disease known as lupus affects various bodily systems.
To make sure that you identify chronic kidney disease before it leads to kidney failure, here are some facts that you must be aware of:
- In addition to high blood pressure, fatigue and blood in the urine are common symptoms too.
- There’s no permanent solution for chronic kidney disease so you need to focus on reducing its symptoms.
- You can get it diagnosed with blood tests, a biopsy, or kidney scans.
What Are the Signs of Kidney Failure?
It’s hard to identify kidney disease because there are no obvious symptoms in its initial stages.
You need to know that chronic kidney disease might cause damage to your body even though you don’t feel like anything’s wrong.
However, symptoms of kidney failure or chronic kidney disease vary from person to person. Here are some of the common symptoms experienced by most people diagnosed with kidney disease.
- Extreme tiredness.
- A lack of focus.
- Swelling around ankles and hands.
- Frequent use of the bathroom.
- Muscle spasms.
- Itchy or dry skin.
- Poor appetite.
Diagnosis of Kidney Failure
Doctors carry out various tests to diagnose kidney failure or its effectiveness. If your doctor thinks that your kidneys might’ve failed they’ll carry out the following test for confirmation:
- Blood tests: These identify whether the kidneys are efficiently filtering the waster out of the blood or not.
- Imaging tests: Advanced imaging can display any abnormalities or blockages in the kidneys.
- Urine tests: This test identifies if there are any unusual substances present in the urine, such as protein or blood.
Treatment For Kidney Failure
The treatment for kidney failure can be determined by the extent of the problem. If you treat your chronic kidney disease earlier, it can minimize the risk of kidney failure. Your doctor may recommend the following things to maintain your kidney’s health.
- Routine blood tests.
- Blood pressure check.
However, if your kidneys have stopped functioning, the doctors may recommend the following treatment to keep your kidneys alive.
- Dialysis: when kidneys stop functioning on their own, dialysis helps the body filter the blood. Dialysis is further divided into two categories: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
- Hemodialysis involves a machine that consistently cleans the blood inside your body. Most people with kidney failure get this treatment around 3 or 4 days every week.
- Peritoneal dialysis involves a dialysis solution and a catheter to clean the blood. This treatment can also be done at home.
Kidney transplant: This is an extensive and risky surgery where doctors replace your failed kidney with a healthy one donated by a family member or an outsider.