Renal Failure

Understanding Renal Failure

Renal failure is a serious health issue where a person’s kidneys stop functioning properly and can no longer filter waste from the body. This results in a build-up of toxins in the body, which can be fatal if untreated. Renal failure is more common in people with certain preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, or an enlarged prostate. It can also occur as a result of an infection, physical stress, drug use, or long-term exposure to certain toxins.

Types of Renal Failure

Renal failure is divided into two main categories:

  • Acute Renal Failure – Acute renal failure is sudden and generally caused by a disruption in the body’s normal filtration process, such as a blockage or damage to the kidneys. This type of renal failure can be reversed with treatment.
  • Chronic Renal Failure – Chronic renal failure is the slow and continued loss of kidney function that results from long-term conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. It may require dialysis or a kidney transplant to treat.

Signs & Symptoms

Some of the common signs and symptoms of renal failure include:

  • High levels of protein in the urine
  • Swelling in the hands and feet
  • High levels of potassium in the blood
  • Fatigue and depression
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in urination habits

Diagnosis & Treatment

To diagnose renal failure, your doctor will likely perform a physical exam, urine analysis, and blood tests. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the renal failure, but typically involves lifestyle changes (such as reducing salt intake and quitting smoking), medications to manage symptoms, and dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Preventing Renal Failure

The best way to prevent renal failure is to maintain healthy lifestyle habits and get regular checkups. Be sure to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get regular medical checkups
  • Limit salt, alcohol, and caffeine intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Manage chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney stones