kidney failure : symptoms & causes

 Acute kidney failure

Kidney is the bean shaped organ which is an important part of the excretory system of human body. Acute kidney failure is one of the disorders related to this organ and it is associated with the instant losing of kidney’s skill to perform the vital function of getting rid of unwanted fluid and salts or electrolytes along with the toxins from the blood stream. The fluids, electrolytes and toxic wastes start building up in excess inside the body as a result of breakdown of Kidney’s functioning. One of the most important things to be taken into consideration is that acute kidney failure or acute kidney injury develops very fast and takes minimum couple of hours to maximum few days for growing to severity. This type of disorders is of regular occurrence amongst people who are already being treated for some critical illness and are in need of intensive care. More often than not people who are hospitalized are too likely to develop acute kidney failure towards the end. This problem is fatal and hence has to be treated with intensive care. There are few occasions, especially if the patient is young and otherwise healthy that the individual can come back and recover fully.

Symptoms of acute kidney failure

Just as every disease shows some signifying harbinger, similarly acute kidney failure too displays certain symptoms or signs. Some of them are:




           Reduced output of urine, sometimes though it can be normal

           Swelling in ankles, feet and legs due to retention of fluid

           Shortness of breath


           Pain or stress on chest

           In severe cases coma or seizures

Surprisingly some of the acute kidney failures never indicate any symptoms and are only detected when the laboratory tests are conducted.

Causes of acute kidney failure

Acute kidney failure is caused when the kidney loses its ability to filter out toxic wastes from the blood stream. It happens mostly when some habits or disease or accident damage the kidneys or even when some other disorders prevailing inside the body restricts the flow of blood. Many times the cause of acute kidney failure can be inability of the body throw out the wastes filtered by the body via urine. Some of the disorders or ailments that can slow down the blood flow to the kidney causing acute kidney failure are:

  • Loss of blood.
  • Medications related to blood pressure.
  • Heart attack.
  • Ailments of Heart.
  • Infection.
  • Cirrhosis of liver
  • Drugs like aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen that belong to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  genre

  • Intense allergic reactions like anaphylaxis.
  • Burns.
  • Excessive dehydration

Some of the diseases that are responsible for the kidney damage leading to acute kidney failure include:

  • Many times the arteries and veins located surrounding and inside the kidneys develop blood clots due to which the kidney gets damaged.
  • When the cholesterol gets deposited in the passage of blood flow moving towards the kidney, it affects the functioning of kidney.  
  • Glomerulonephritis.
  • Lupus.
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome.
  • During the imaging tests, various medicines like antibiotics, dyes, chemotherapy drugs are used due to which the kidney of the patient can get damaged.
  • Vaculitis.
  • Scleroderma.
  • People who intake toxic substances like alcohol, cocaine or heavy metals in excess or very regularly.
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

Some of the various types of cancer like cervical cancer, bladder cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer or blood clots in the urinary tract too can cause damage to kidney. Kidney stone or enlarged prostrate are the frequent disorders related to kidney. Patients suffering from these diseases or habits like drinking of excess of alcohol or intake of drugs are more prone to suffer from acute kidney failure. Diabetes is one of the main reasons for kidney failure and people suffering from hypertension and diabetes should always regularly go for check up to monitor the working of their internal organs.

Diagnosis and tests

Some of the tests usually referred by doctor if he suspects of kidney problem are urine output measurements, blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests or tomography. In severe conditions the tissue of kidney is used as a sample for testing.


When the acute kidney failure problem gets diagnosed, the patient is immediately hospitalized till he recovers fully. Mostly the doctors try to cure the problem causing kidney damage so that kidney recovers automatically. The regular methods of treating the kidney include the following steps:

  1. Giving medicine to restrict the potassium content in the blood.
  2. Giving medicine to balance the calcium level in the blood.
  3. Balancing the fluid content in blood.
  4. Dialysis for removing the waste substances from the blood

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