Renal failure is a condition that involves failure of kidneys to effectively remove waste products from the blood. The renal condition primarily involves reduction in the glomerular filtration rate, the rate at which blood is filtered in the glomeruli of the kidney.
Kidney failure has two main types – acute and chronic. As per Web MD, acute kidney disease results from an event that leads to kidney malfunction, which includes medications, blood loss from major surgery or injury, and dehydration. On the other hand, chronic kidney disease is due to a long-term disease like diabetes or high blood pressure, which may gradually damage the kidneys and adversely affect their function over time.
Kidney disease present a number of signs and symptoms, which are genitourinary and gastrointestinal in nature. According to Life Options, the person may notice some changes in urination, including foamy, bubbly, or bloody appearance. There is also frequency of urination, especially at night, along with an ironically scanty amount of urine. In some cases, a person may feel pressure or have difficulty in urination.
Fluid volume excess is a health problem in kidney disease and fluid retention are usually confined to the face, hands, legs, feet, and ankles. The person may complain about big ankles, which prevent him from getting his shoes on. Some people may notice puffy face, despite of losing weight. Other people find it tiring to do physical activities like walking, due to swelling of extremities.
Fluid retention can also take place in the lungs, which can lead to impaired breathing and shortness of breath. Aside from fluid retention, the person may also experience fatigue, primarily due to the reduced production of erythopoietin (EPO), which helps in the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This decrease in oxygenated blood also leads to shortness of breath.
Since the kidneys fail to adequately remove waste products from the bloodstream, the accumulated wastes will lead to itching. Also, the waste build-up in the blood, which called uremia, will affect food taste. Moreover, waste accumulation can cause bad breath. The person may also notice dislike in eating meat or any other food. With such build-up of waste product in the blood, a person may experience nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss.
While the usual causes of kidney disease do not cause pain, people diagnosed with the condition may suffer from pain, specifically, leg or flank pain. The pain is usually felt at the upper back area, where the kidneys are. Some people complain about backache or sideache, which prevent them from sleeping through the night.
Treatment for acute kidney disease involves hospitalization and its length is dependent on the reason for the acute kidney failure and how fast the kidneys recover. According to Mayo Clinic, the primary treatment goal is to identify the illness or injury that initially damaged the kidneys. The treatment options are also determined by the root cause of the kidney failure. To regulate the amount of fluids in the blood, the doctor may suggest intravenous (IV) fluids, which may lead to arm or leg swelling. Diuretics, medications that promote urination, may also be prescribed. The doctor may also prescribe glucose or sodium polysterene sulfonate to prevent potassium accumulation in the blood. Calcium may also be infused to maintain normal blood calcium levels. Lastly, dialysis may be done for toxin removal in the blood.
There is no cure for chronic kidney disease, according to NHS. However, treatment can slow down or delay the disease progress and prevent the development of some complications. The risk of having heart attack increases in people with chronic kidney disease, leading to a condition called end-stage kidney disease; thus, people with end stage renal failure may have to undergo artificial treatment like dialysis or kidney transplant.