What is Acute Renal Failure?
Acute renal failure is the condition where the kidneys suddenly lose their ability to filter and eliminate the excess salts and waste material from the body. It develops rapidly over a few hours, days or weeks, and proves fatal if not treated early.
What causes Acute Renal Failure?
Sudden kidney failure can have several causes. Some of them are:
- Reduced blood flow to kidneys (due to low BP, injury, heart failure, shock or surgery)
- Obstructed flow of urine from the kidney (due to cancers in abdomen or pelvis, enlarged prostate, kidney stones and renal nerve damage )
- Damage to the kidneys (due to auto-immune diseases, renal infections, nephrotoxins, some medications, clotting of kidney’s blood vessels, and sudden dehydration)
Aged people, patients being treated in intensive care units and those who underwent a heart surgery or a bone marrow transplant are at a higher risk of kidney failure.
What are the symptoms of Acute Renal Failure?
Signs and symptoms of acute renal failure are:
- Blood stools
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Decreased appetite
How is Acute Renal Failure diagnosed?
Diagnosis procedure of acute renal failure includes:
Swelling due to fluid retention and crackling sound in lungs indicate the condition
Ultrasound is the trusted method to diagnose acute kidney failure. Tests like blood urea nitrogen, serum sodium, serum potassium, urinalysis, creatinine clearance and estimated glomerular filtration also help in diagnosis.
What are the treatments for Acute Renal Failure?
In patients who are young and healthy, acute renal failure can potentially be reversed. The key to treating this condition is identifying its cause. While addressing the cause, the doctors make recommendations necessary to reduce the load on kidneys and allow them to recover. The treatment includes:
Reducing the amount of solid and liquid foods consumed will reduce the amount of work the kidneys have to do to eliminate toxins. A diet low on proteins and potassium will help kidneys recover soon.
If the cause of acute renal failure is lack of fluids in the blood, the doctor will recommend intravenous fluids.
In case of excess fluids (swelling in arms and legs), the doctor will prescribe diuretics.
Antibiotics are administered to treat or prevent infections that can occur during the renal failure. Medications to restore calcium in blood and medications to control blood potassium are the other important elements of the treatment.
If toxins are building up rapidly and the kidneys are not able to flush them out, dialysis is performed to filter and expel the waste. Dialysis will also keep the potassium levels in check.
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