Kidney Failure

Nephrology & Urology - Kidney Failure

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure, also called End-stage renal disease (ESRD) occurs when the kidneys stop performing its functions. It occurs when kidneys partly or entirely lose their ability to filter water and waste from the blood. A healthy kidney filters and removes trash and excess fluid from the blood and turns it into urine. When kidneys fail, harmful waste builds up in the body, which leads to high blood pressure, decreased red blood cells, and imbalance of salts and acids in the blood.

Cause of Kidney failure

Diabetes and hypertension are the two leading causes of kidney failure. Various other causes of kidney failure are genetic diseases, inflammatory diseases, chronic infection, autoimmune disease and urinary tract problems.

When your kidneys are damaged, they do not work as well as they should, thus resulting in kidney failure. There are two types of kidney failure:

Acute kidney Injury

Earlier known as acute kidney failure, it occurs suddenly as a result of illness, drugs or injury and is often reversible. It develops over hours to days and is usually diagnosed in the emergency department or following a surgery. It may occur due to the low blood flow (mainly after a complicated surgery or an accident), blockage of the kidney, swelling of kidney or due to high blood pressure. The symptoms include:

  • Swelling of the limbs.
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • High blood pressure

Treatment: Acute kidney failure requires immediate treatment. Patients experiencing acute kidney failure are placed on a special diet and temporary dialysis until their kidneys heal.

Chronic kidney failure

It develops over a long period and is irreversible. In chronic kidney failure, the symptoms may not appear until your kidneys are badly damaged. You may notice symptoms when kidney functions decline to 20% or less. These symptoms are caused by waste and extra fluid building up in your body. You may see one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Swollen limbs

Treatment: ESRD is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. At this stage, your kidneys can no longer eliminate waste as fast as you’re producing it. There are just a few options for treating kidney disease. In the early stage, kidney damage can be controlled with medication and diet. When your kidneys fail, you need treatment to replace the work your kidney used to do. To return your lost kidney function, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.


Dialysis is an artificial way of removing poisonous waste, water and salts that have built up due to kidney failure. There are two main types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Kidney transplant

kidney transplant is the process where a kidney is removed surgically from a donor and implanted into the patient. A kidney transplant would be the best treatment for ESRD. Dialysis performs some of the functions of healthy kidneys but is not a cure for kidney disease. Generally, the patient will need to have dialysis for the rest of their life or receive a kidney transplant.

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