Kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located at either side of our spine, sized roughly about 4 to 5 inches. The primary function of the kidney is to filter the blood, remove waste, maintain a balance among the body fluids and keep the level of electrolytes normal and balanced.
All of our body’s blood passes through the kidney quite a few times a day where the waste is made to flow out into the bladder as urine and the purified blood is circulated throughout the body. One in every twenty people develop kidney stones which are hard mineral stones found in the kidney.
A kidney stone test can easily diagnose it. If the results of this kidney stone test are positive, doctors can manage it with ease in various ways. If the kidneys fail to purify the blood and maintain a balance in the body fluids then the waste will begin to accumulate in our bodies. This triggers a series of maladies and the condition is called a ‘kidney failure’. The organ may partially or completely stop working.
Types of Kidney Failure
Another name for kidney failure is End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). As the name suggests, it is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. Nonetheless, there are two kinds of kidney failures.
- Acute Kidney Failure: This is also called acute renal failure, this kind of failure has an abrupt onset. The kidneys suddenly stop filtering waste and can be fatal if not treated immediately. The patient requires intensive treatment at hospitals but this condition is reversible. That is, the patient can fully recover if his body is healthy and the other organs are in good shape.
- Chronic Kidney Failure: This is the type of failure that develops gradually over three to four months. The organ begins to lose all functionality and dangerous amounts of fluids and waste and electrolytes are mixed in the blood and stored in the body. The chronic kidney failure can progress to end-stage kidney failure or as it is called, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and then the patient can not survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Reasons for Kidney Failures
Diabetes is found to be the most common cause of end-stage renal disease. Even high blood pressure is observed to be a cause of ESRD. There can be other causes as well, like autoimmune diseases. The autoimmune diseases include Lupus Nephritis, in which a person experiences kidney swelling and irritation. Another autoimmune disease causing kidney failure is IgA Nephropathy. This is also called Berger’s disease and in this, the delicate, tiny filters of the kidney cease to work.
Sometimes it is noticed that kidney diseases are hereditary. That means, people can be born with kidney disease. Polycystic kidney disease is one such example. These aforesaid factors are examples of reasons for kidney failure. Other examples include Nephrotic syndrome and urinary tract problems and infections. You can take a kidney function test to find out how your kidneys are functioning. A kidney function test is usually a blood and urine test for the doctor to pinpoint your issues.
Acute kidney failures are those wherein the kidney abruptly stops functioning. In most cases, it is reversible if the patient is properly tended to. Heart attacks or strokes are possible causes of acute kidney failures. Intake of drugs, alcohol or other substance can cause acute renal failure as well. Sometimes, prolonged usage of certain kinds of medication has an adverse effect on kidneys as well. Besides this, inadequate blood flow to the kidney and urinary tract infections are other causes of acute renal failure.
Symptoms of Kidney Failure
For acute cases, it is easy to notice the kidney failure symptoms. It might manifest itself in the form of kidney pain symptoms. Pain under the ribs, in the back of abdominal region, are types of kidney pain symptoms. The kidney’s functionality is suddenly lost and the person might have diarrhea, fever, rashes, vomiting, nosebleeds, etc. A decreased production of urine is also another one of the kidney damage symptoms.
For a case of chronic kidney failure, the person might not readily recognize the symptoms of kidney problems. The damage begins to build up gradually over a few months and in that period, the person might experience vomiting, increased or decreased urine flow, “foam” in urine, swollen ankles, eyes, etc. The person can gradually begin to lose appetite and weight and feel breathless all the time. These kidney damage symptoms are like ticking bombs that explode soon after. The kidneys will then lose complete functionality and it might pose to be fatal for the patient. If these symptoms of kidney problems begin to show up, it is advisable that the person rushes to the doctor immediately.
Treatment of Kidney Failure
If the patient has chronic kidney failure or end-stage renal disease, they can opt for a renal function test which is also called kidney function test. If the results of the renal function test indicate ESRD, then there is no other choice than to undergo a kidney transplant or a periodic dialysis treatment. These are the only two known cures and it is seen that with a transplant or dialysis, the patient has resumed her/his lifestyle and has lived on.
In the case of acute kidney diseases, the patient needs to be hospitalized instantly where she/he will be treated with fluids and medication or be fitted with a ureteral stent. Today, with the medical advancements, it can be said that most patients can be saved with proper treatment and care if the person is a little alert and has contacted the doctor on-time.