Acute Renal Failure (ARF)

Acute Renal Failure (ARF): Overview

Acute renal failure (ARF) is a sudden and often rapid decrease in kidney function that often occurs when the kidneys suddenly stop filtering certain substances from the blood. ARF generally occurs as a result of an injury, infection, or other medical condition that impairs the kidney's ability to filter waste products from the blood. ARF can be a life-threatening illness if not treated immediately.

The two main types of ARF are: pre-renal ARF, which is caused by insufficient blood flow to the kidneys, and intra-renal ARF, which is caused by tissue damage within the kidneys. Pre-renal ARF can occur when there is a blockage in the urinary tract, changes in electrolytes, or medications that affect kidney function. Intra-renal ARF is caused by an infection or injury to the kidneys, such as ischemia, sepsis, or nephrotoxic drugs.

Signs and symptoms of ARF include decreased urine output, fatigue, swelling of the feet and legs, confusion, weakness, and shortness of breath. Diagnostic tests used to diagnose ARF can include blood tests, urinalysis, and imaging tests. Treatment of ARF may include dialysis, medications to control electrolyte levels, and supportive measures.

Complication of Acute Renal Failure (ARF)

Complications of ARF can be severe and include:

  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Acid-base imbalances
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Fluid buildup in other areas of the body, such as the abdomen or around the heart
  • Infections
  • A buildup of waste products in the body
  • Hyperkalemia, or an elevated blood potassium level
  • Increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and death

Prevention of Acute Renal Failure (ARF)

ARF can often be prevented with early detection and treatment of any underlying medical conditions that can lead to ARF. Additionally, there are a few lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk of ARF by keeping your kidneys healthy:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption.
  • Limit your intake of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Stick to a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • Manage any chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.