Kidney failure facts
Kidney Failure is a condition which causes the Kidneys to stop working as effectively as they should do. In fact, in some cases it could cause them to shut down completely. This is a long-term condition with very few treatment methods available. On this page I want to take a little look at what Kidney failure is all about and look into any treatments that may help people who are suffering from the condition.
What are the kidneys?
In your body you have two kidneys. They are located on either side of your body and can be found just below the ribcage. There are a number of jobs that your kidneys can perform. The main job of theirs is to eliminate waste from your body. This is converted into urine. They will also help in other ways though. For example they are important if you need to keep your heart functioning properly, they help to maintain blood pressure, produce Vitamin D and also produce Erythropoietin which is important for the production of new red blood cells. Kidney Failure occurs when the ability to do any of these jobs is impaired.
What causes kidney failure?
There are a number of different causes of Kidney Failure. It would be impossible to cover all of them on this page. However I want to give you a brief overview of some of the most common causes. These include:
• Severe Blood Loss (Known as Hypovolemia)
• Obstruction of a major artery or vein leading to the kidneys
• Sepsis, which is when the body is complexly overtaken by an infection which causes the kidneys to just give up.
• Overdosing on certain medications. This includes certain drugs available ‘over the counter’ such as ibuprofen.
• Severe trauma in the body (certain muscles damaged by injury). This causes damaged muscle fibres to clog up the kidneys.
• Inflammation of the filtering system of the kidney.
• Obstruction located in the bladder. The bladder fills up and then sends any excess urine back up to the kidney. Eventually the pressure will be so high that the kidneys will shut down.
• Prostate Cancer
• Kidney Stones
• High Blood Pressure
What are the symptoms of kidney failure?
Early on in the condition there will be no symptoms of Kidney Failure, or at least not noticeable ones. It isn’t until the later stages of Kidney Failure that people start to experience severe problems. This includes swelling in the extremities, back pain, severe sickness, blood in the urine, weight loss, problems urinating and shortness of breath. There are a few other symptoms but these tend to be the main ones.
How is kidney failure diagnosed?
Kidney Failure will be diagnosed by a doctor. They will listen to your symptoms and then take a little look at the amount of waste products that are in your system (i.e. ones which could not be eliminated by the kidneys). This will be done in the form of blood tests. The doctor may also carry out urine tests to look at the amount of proteins which can be found within the urine.
What is the treatment for kidney failure?
It is worth noting that Kidney Damage and Failure cannot be reversed. Therefore the goal of any medical expert will be to ensure that no further problems occur. There are a number of treatments available. These include:
• Diet will need to be controlled. This means cutting down on the amount of salt, potassium and water that you consume. You will need to do it in limited quantities as your kidneys will have trouble eliminating these.
• Medications: There are a number of medications available on the market which are designed to quell the effects of Kidney Failure. Your doctor will discuss these with you so you end up with the right one for your needs.
• If you have severe Kidney Damage (i.e. complete failure of the Kidneys) then one of options is dialysis. Diet and medications will not work. One of the most common forms of dialysis is known as Hemodialysis. This is where you will be hooked up to something akin to an artificial kidney which will remove excess waste from the body. This is normally carried out in the confines of a hospital although there are now a number of options available for those that want to do it at home. Peritoneal Dialysis is a new form of treatment which functions in a similar way although seems to be more comfortable for some patients.
• Surgery. In some cases you may need a kidney transplant. This is only done in a few situations due to the fact that the body has a habit of rejecting the kidney and thus kidney transplantations are not always successful.