Acute Renal Failure: Help, Support and Overcome
Acute Renal Failure Overview
Acute renal failure refers to the sudden failure of the functioning of kidneys. Kidneys are the prime excretory organs of the body and help in disposing all the waste products from the body. They also help in maintaining the electrolyte balance in the blood. When the kidneys stop functioning, the waste products and electrolytes begin to accumulate in the body and create high toxicity in the blood stream. This can lead to fatal consequences. Acute renal failure can affect any age group, though it is more commonly seen in people above 30 to 50 years of age. Any blunt injury to the kidney due to accidents can lead to acute renal failure. A person with diabetes, heart failure or liver disease is more likely to get this disease. All the other important organs of the body begin to deteriorate following acute renal failure and the affected person requires immediate medical intervention.
Help and Support for Acute Renal Failure
Acute renal failure causes a sharp rise in the serum creatinine levels, which hinders the proper secretion from the renal tubules. The main causes for acute renal failure are a sudden blockage such as a stone in the kidney or the urethra, damage to the kidneys due to infection, poisons or certain medicines and heavy blood loss that causes a steep drop in the blood flow to the kidneys. Certain antibiotics such as streptomycin, gentamicin and ACE inhibitors used to treat blood pressure are known to cause damage to the renal tissues. Prolonged use of pain killers for conditions such as arthritis, gout or headache can lead to renal failure. Acute renal failure manifests itself with low or no urine output, swelling in the legs and feet, nausea, vomiting and pain in the back just below the diaphragm or the rib cage. The affected person feels restless, sleepy and anxious all the time. It is diagnosed by a blood test or a urine test to determine the levels of sodium, calcium and potassium in the kidneys. An ultrasound scan also can detect acute renal failure.
Overcome Acute Renal Failure
If you are diagnosed with acute renal failure, it is best to consult a nephrologist who specializes in kidney related problems. The doctor may start you on an immediate hemodialysis and probe the underlying cause of renal failure. If there is a blockage, then this can be removed by various procedures. You will be advised to go low on oral intake of food since the kidneys cannot take up any excretion at this stage. Diets should be low on sodium, potassium and phosphorus to take away any more loads on the damaged kidneys. Diuretics are given orally to flush out excess electrolytes. More than half of the patients recover well within two or three weeks of acute renal failure if promptly treated. The kidneys come back to normal and can function as before. However, the other half may end up with chronic renal disease or may have to undergo a kidney transplant. Regular dialysis is another option if you do not find a matching donor. Older people may not recover since acute renal failure may be due to some other underlying disease.