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Renal Failure

Acute renal failure happens when the kidneys suddenly lose their ability to remove toxins from the urine. Typically the cause for a sudden kidney failure are acute tubular necrosis (ATN) and autoimmune kidney diseases. Other causes leading to kidney damage are acute pyelonephritis and septicemia. The symptoms indicating acute renal failure are changes in urination, lowered sensation in extremities and metallic taste in the mouth. Typical symptoms include nausea, blood in stools, swelling of feet and ankles, swelling of ankle or leg, fluid retention and fatigue. A person might also notice high blood pressure, nausea and reduced appetite. Change in mental alertness might be noticed.


A nephrologist will need to examine the patient and suggest further course of action. BUN test and blood tests for creatinine and potassium are done. Kidney ultrasound or MRI might be done to look for any stones, tumors or blockage. A person suffering acute kidney failure is hospitalized and the amount of liquid ingested in monitored. The diet has to be tailored to reduce proteins and salt. Diuretics might be prescribed for reducing fluid retention. In some cases, dialysis is done; especially when the potassium levels are abnormally high. The balance of body electrolytes is maintained.


Acute kidney failure is more common with older adults and those suffering kidney or liver disease, heart failure or diabetes. An abdominal surgery might also make you more susceptible to kidney failure. Severe dehydration, blood pressure medications and overuse of NSAIDs are other possible causes for renal failure. This condition can be life threatening if not treated in time. It can lead to chronic kidney failure or damage to the nervous system and the heart. The patient can develop very high blood pressure or loss of blood in the intestines leading to last-stage kidney disease. Treatment for kidney disease include antibiotics and iodine-based medications.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: June 20, 2019