Health Program

 Renal Failure

Definition


Renal failure means that your kidneys have suddenly stopped working. Normally the kidneys filter wastes and help balance water, salt, and mineral (electrolyte) levels in the blood. When your kidneys stop working, waste products, fluids, and electrolytes build up in your body. This can cause life-threatening problems. Cause: A number of serious conditions or diseases can cause the kidneys to stop working properly.


  • A sudden serious drop in blood flow to the kidneys. The most common causes of low blood flow are severe blood loss, severe infection, injury and dehydration.

  • Damage to the kidneys. Certain medicines, poisons, or infection can damage the kidneys. Problem medicines include antibiotics (gentamycin, streptomycin), common pain medicines (NSAID’s) such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen.

  • A sudden blockage that prevents urine from flowing out of the kidneys. Kidney stones, a tumor, an injury, or enlarged prostate gland can cause blockage.

  • Serious heart problems such as heart failure, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), high blood pressure, endocarditis and heart valve disease.


Symptoms


  • Swelling, especially in the legs and feet

  • Little or no urinary output

  • Thirst and a dry mouth

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Feeling dizzy when you stand up

  • Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting

  • Feeling confused, anxious, and restless, or sleepy

  • Pain on one side of the back, just below the rib cage and above the waist


Risk Factors/ Risk Groups


  • Existing kidney disease or liver disease such as nephritic syndrome and cirrhosis.

  • Diabetes

  • Heart Failure

  • Hypertension

  • Obesity

  • Older Adult


Treatment


The goals of treatment for renal failure are to:

  • Correct or treat the underlying cause of kidney failure

  • Support the kidneys until they have healed and can work properly

  • Prevent or treat any complications caused by acute renal failure


Treatment can vary widely your doctor may need to:


  • Replace lost fluids, such as water, blood, plasma and restore blood flow to the kidneys.

  • Discontinue any medications that may be causing the problem. These may include some antibiotics, common pain medications, and medicines used to treat cancer.

  • Treat kidney disease that is causing damage to the kidney by using plasma exchange, glucocorticoids, or other medications depending on the specific disease.

  • Use medicines to stop the immune system from working (immunosuppressant) when an autoimmune disorder is causing renal failure.


Supporting your kidneys so they can heal will include close management of:


  • Fluid Intake- fluids lost because of dehydration or blood lost must be restored, but fluid intake must also be limited to avoid fluid buildup.

  • Nutrition- A specialized diet with restricted fluid intake may be used to meet nutritional needs without putting too much stress on failing kidneys.

  • Medications- Several medications are used to help relieve the fluid buildup that can occur in renal failure. Many doctors use diuretics to improve urine output and remove excess water from the body.

  • Dialysis- may be used to support the kidneys until they recover. Dialysis is a machine that filters wastes and removes extra fluid from the blood. Hemodialysis is the most effective treatment for renal failure. It controls blood pressure and corrects life threatening fluid and electrolyte imbalances that occur when the kidneys are not working properly.


Prevention


Avoid diseases that increase your chance of developing renal failure such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, obesity, and long term failure kidney disease


Statistics


Kidney failure sends an estimated 400,000 Americans into treatment each year.