Acute Kidney Failure Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Kidney Health Care - David Mangusan Jr, PTRP

When the Kidneys Suddenly Stop Working.

Acute kidney failure, also called acute renal failure (ARF), is the sudden and temporary loss of kidney function. Normally, the kidneys help in removing waste products from the blood and put it in the urine to be excreted out of the body. However, in kidney failure, the damaged kidneys will not be able to remove these wastes and may cause their build up in the blood.

Acute kidney failure may lead to permanent loss of kidney function, a condition called end-stage renal disease, if not treated promptly. But if the kidneys are not seriously damaged, the condition may be reversed.

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Causes

Acute renal failure causes may be include:

 Accident that injures the kidneys and direct or forceful blows to the kidneys.

 Losing a lot of blood. Any injury that results in loss of blood may reduce kidney
function temporarily, but once blood supply is replenished, the kidneys usually return to normal.

 Drugs and toxic substances such as heavy metals (lead), solvents and fuels.

 Other kidney diseases such as hemolytic uremic syndrome and nephrotic syndrome.

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Signs and Symptoms

Acute kidney failure symptoms may vary depending on the underlying cause. Symptoms of acute kidney failure may include
 Decreased urine output

 Swelling around the eyes, limbs and belly

 Proteinuria—protein in the urine

 Paleness

 Fatigue

 Drowsiness
Acute kidney failure can be a complication of some other serious disorder. You should call your doctor immediately if you or your child experience unusual bleeding, extreme fatigue, swollen limbs, or decreased urine output.

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Acute Kidney Failure Treatment Options

Treatment of acute kidney failure depends on the underlying cause. For example, replacing the lost blood from severe bleeding through blood transfusion. In severe cases, however, acute kidney failure may require several sessions of dialysis to temporarily take over the kidney’s job of filtering wastes from the blood. This is done to help with the healing of the kidneys. Dialysis is a way to remove the waste products and extra water from the blood of patients with acute kidney failure.

Where can I get more information?

National Kidney Foundation
Internet: www.kidney.org

National Kidney Disease Education Program
Internet: http://www.nkdep.nih.gov

National Kidney Disease Information Clearinghouse
Internet: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov

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References:

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Your Kidneys and How They Work. National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. NIH Publication No. 07–3195, August 2007. Available at http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/index.htm. Accessed July 2008

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Overview of Kidney Diseases in Children. National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. NIH Publication No. 06–5167, June 2006. Available at http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/childkidneydiseases/overview/index.htm. Accessed July 2008

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Kidney Failure Glossary. National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. NIH Publication No. 03–4894, April 2003. Available at http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/glossary/index.htm. Accessed July 2008

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. NIH Publication No. 06–4570, December 2005. Available at http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/childkidneydiseases/hemolytic_uremic_syndrome/index.htm. Accessed July 2008


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This Page Last Revised: November 14, 2009

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