Coping With Renal Failure

February 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Kidney Health

There are two main types of renal failure:

Partial renal failure is insufficient functioning of the kidney. This may be due to
• flattening of the top portion of the kidney or
• reduction in the number of nephrons in the kidney or
• reduction in the size of the nephrons.

Complete renal failure results when the kidney fails to function entirely.

Symptoms of renal failure:

Renal failure may lead to a condition called oliguria which is characterized by low urine output. It may also lead to anuria which is characterized by nil urine output. Oedema of the feet and even legs may result due to retention of fluid in the body.

The person suffering from this condition may feel tired. The level of appetite may also decrease. The body becomes susceptible to getting wounded easily. Once wounded the bleeding may be difficult to contain. A serious symptom of renal failure is seizure and coma.

However, all the above symptoms do not necessarily indicate renal failure. Further diagnosis has to be done to confirm renal failure. The physician checks for fluid retention in the body. Urine sample of the patient is analysed for abnormally high levels of creatinine (protein), serum potassium, blood, urea and nitrogen. Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests are also done on the kidney to check for physical abnormalities.

Consequence of renal failure:

Renal failure is considered to be a serious ailment because the kidney has so many important functions to perform. Kidney filters out the toxins from the blood, maintains the fluid and electrolytes balance in the body and regulates the blood pressure. All these functions fail when renal failure occurs.

Causes of renal failure:

Death of the cells in the kidney, known as necrosis, is a cause of renal failure. Renal failure could also result from autoimmune ailments.

Low blood pressure decreases the flow of blood to the kidneys. So kidneys get reduced energy. Toxins remain in the blood if they do not flow through the kidneys and get cleansed.

High blood pressure on the other hand leaves the blood flow moving forcefully into the kidney. Kidney is not able to handle the increased workload.

Treatment for renal failure:

The least invasive treatment is through controlled intake of fluids and diet.

Diuretics could be administered to effect fluid loss in the kidneys.

Sodium and potassium input is to be controlled to affect electrolyte balance in the body. At times the level of potassium is controlled using calcium treatment.

Since blood pressure affects kidneys, blood pressure has to be regulated through timely checks.

Kidney failure could have resulted due to diabetes condition. In this case, glucose levels and insulin levels have to be checked and maintained.

When none of the above treatments work, kidney dialysis or kidney transplants is the solution. Not all kidney transplants are successful. In case of failure in kidney transplant, artificial kidneys can be used. Artificial kidneys function from outside the body.

Understanding the symptoms, identifying the causes, settling on a mode of treatment and following through the treatment carefully will help one get through the near fatal kidney disease – renal failure.