Acute Renal Failure

The sudden inability of the kidneys to filter blood is called acute failure. Acute kidney failure develops rapidly over a few hours or a few days. It is common in hospitalized patients who are critically ill and need intensive care. Although it is fatal, acute kidney failure can be reversed and the kidneys return to their normal state. This occurs as a result of injuries to the body. Often it is caused by decrease in the amount of blood supply to the kidneys which may be due to:

  • Hypovolemia or reduced blood volume in the body due to blood loss.
  • Dehydration and loss of body fluid like vomiting etc
  • Obstruction of the renal artery or vein which caused abnormal blood flow to the kidneys.

Direct damage to the kidneys is the main reason for acute kidney failure such as

  • When the immune system is overwhelmed from infection, it causes inflammation and shutdown of the kidneys. This is called sepsis
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen are toxic to the kidneys. So are the medications injected for radiology dye detection studies.
  • Rhabdomyolys or muscle breakdowns. These damaged muscle fibers clog and block the filtering system of the kidneys. This may be caused due to external trauma.
  • Obstruction of the bladder or the ureters which causes pressure high enough for the kidneys to be damaged and shut down.
  • Prostate cancer and tumors in the abdomen that surround and obstruct the passage of urine flow.
  • Presence of a kidney stone may cause the lone kidney to fail.

Chronic renal failure

Chronic kidney failure indicates the gradual loss of kidney function. In its advanced stages, it leads to accumulation of dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes in your body. Usually there may not be any symptoms until the kidney is seriously impaired. Chronic failure can lead to situations where artificial filtering called dialysis or transplantation of kidneys.

Chronic failure develops over months and years. The most predominant causes are:

  • Improper control of diabetes
  • Improper regulation of high blood pressure
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis.
  • Kidney stones, prostate diseases etc.