Kidney Failure: The Facts You Should Know to Stay Healthy


Kidney Failure: The Facts You Should Know to Stay Healthy. Have you ever wondered what your kidneys do? Those two bean-shaped organs in your lower back work hard 24/7 to filter waste and excess fluid from your blood. But what happens if they stop functioning properly? Kidney failure is a severe medical condition when your kidneys can no longer do their job effectively.

If left untreated, the waste and fluid can build up in your body and become life-threatening. The excellent news is kidney failure often manages well when caught early. This article will give you the facts about kidney failure, how to spot the warning signs, and the treatment options available so you can keep your kidneys healthy and avoid complications, what you need to know about this condition.

What Is Kidney Failure?


Kidney failure means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood as they should. Your kidneys usually remove waste and excess fluid from your blood, but this function is impaired when they fail.

There are two types of kidney failure: acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure happens suddenly, often due to a loss of blood flow to the kidneys from an injury or illness. It may be reversible if treated quickly. Chronic kidney failure develops over time and tends to be permanent.

  • What causes it? The most common causes of chronic kidney failure are high blood pressure and diabetes. Other causes include inflammation of the kidneys, kidney stones, inherited diseases, and toxic exposure.
  • What are the symptoms? Symptoms may include nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, sleep problems, muscle cramps, swelling, and shortness of breath.
  • How is it diagnosed? Simple blood and urine tests can check if your kidneys are functioning correctly. However, other tests like ultrasounds or kidney biopsies may also be needed.

The good news is some treatments can help, like medication, dialysis, and kidney transplants. In addition, the earlier failure is detected, the more options you have to slow or prevent further loss of function.

By understanding the facts about kidney failure, you can reduce your risks and get proper treatment immediately. In addition, be proactive about managing health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, limit alcohol and toxic exposure, stay hydrated, and talk to your doctor about kidney health and function. Your kidneys are vital organs, so take good care of them!

Symptoms of Kidney Failure to Watch Out For Kidney Failure

If your kidneys start failing, your body will give you some clear signs that something’s wrong. So be on the outlook for these common symptoms of kidney failure:

  • Fatigue and lack of energy. Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin that helps make red blood cells carry oxygen. Without it, you can become anemic and tired.
  • They are swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, face, and abdomen. Kidneys remove excess fluid from your tissues. When they fail, the fluid builds up and causes swelling.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Waste builds up in your blood and can make you feel sick.
  • Loss of appetite. The buildup of products in your blood can decrease your appetite.
  • Muscle cramps. An imbalance of electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and calcium can lead to painful muscle spasms.
  • Shortness of breath. Anemia from lack of erythropoietin and excess lung fluid can make breathing difficult.
  • Increased need to urinate. At first, you may need to go more often as your kidneys try to eliminate excess waste and fluid. Later, the amount of urine may decrease.
  • High blood pressure. Diseased kidneys have a more challenging time regulating blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure further damages your kidneys.

If you experience several symptoms, see your doctor immediately for blood and urine tests to check how well your kidneys are working. The sooner kidney failure is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin to help slow or prevent further loss of kidney function.

Causes and Risk Factors of Kidney Failure


High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a significant cause of kidney failure. When your blood pressure is too high, it strains your kidneys over time. Hypertension damages the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, impairing their ability to function correctly. The higher your blood pressure and the longer it’s left untreated, the greater the kidney damage. Controlling high blood pressure is one of the best ways to prevent kidney failure or slow the progression of kidney disease.

Kidney Failure: in Diabetes

Diabetes is another leading cause of kidney failure. Over time, high blood sugar levels damage the kidneys’ filtering system. Diabetic kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy, affects up to 40% of people with diabetes. Moreover, tight control of blood sugar levels and blood pressure can help prevent or delay kidney failure in people with diabetes.


Glomerulonephritis is a group of kidney diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidney’s filtering units called glomeruli. Infections, autoimmune diseases, and certain medications can cause it. However, Glomerulonephritis reduces the kidneys’ ability to filter waste and excess fluid from the blood. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms, reducing inflammation, and slowing the progression of kidney damage.

Inherited Diseases

Some kidney diseases are inherited, passing them down from parents to children through genes. Conditions like polycystic kidney disease, Alport syndrome, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis can damage the kidneys over time, eventually leading to kidney failure. Genetic testing and counseling are available for many inherited kidney diseases. Treatment focuses on lead symptoms and slowing the progression of kidney failure.

In summary, the major causes and risk factors for developing kidney failure include high blood pressure, diabetes, glomerulonephritis, and inherited kidney diseases. The good news is by controlling underlying conditions and making specific lifestyle changes. As a result, you can prevent kidney failure. Be sure to check your kidneys regularly, follow your doctor’s recommendations, and prioritize your health.

Diagnosing Kidney Failure: Blood Tests and Imaging Scans

Your doctor will order blood tests and imaging scans to determine if you have kidney failure. These tests check how well your kidneys function and look for abnormalities.

Kidney Failure: Blood Tests

Blood tests measure waste products in your blood, like creatinine and urea nitrogen (BUN), that are usually filtered out by healthy kidneys. High levels indicate your kidneys aren’t working correctly. A blood test also checks levels of electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate, which can become imbalanced when kidneys fail.

Urine Tests

Urine tests check for protein in your urine (proteinuria) and the concentration of waste products. Healthy kidneys should filter protein and waste from your blood into your urine—too much or too little protein or waste in the urine points to damage or failure.

Imaging Scans

Imaging scans like ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs create pictures of your kidneys and urinary tract. They check for any abnormalities in the size or shape of your kidneys, blockages, or stones that could be causing damage. These scans also look at blood flow to your kidneys, which can be reduced if they fail.

Kidney Biopsy

Sometimes, a kidney biopsy must determine the cause of kidney failure. A biopsy involves removing a small piece of kidney tissue with a needle and examining it under a microscope. It can determine if failure is due to an infection, autoimmune disease, inherited disease, or other cause. The biopsy results guide the best treatment options to manage your condition.

Early diagnosis and treatment of failure are critical to preventing complications. Your doctor can determine if your kidneys are failing and the underlying cause through blood tests, urine tests, imaging, and sometimes biopsy. With an accurate diagnosis, the right treatment plan, including medication, diet changes, or dialysis, can be put in place to help support your kidney function for as long as possible.

Treatment Options for Kidney Failure: Dialysis, Transplant, or Medication

If your kidneys fail, you have a few options for treatment to stay healthy. The three main choices are dialysis, a kidney transplant, or medication. Let’s explore each one.

Kidney Failure for Dialysis

Dialysis uses a machine to filter waste and excess fluid from your blood. There are two types: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

  • Hemodialysis: Your blood is pumped through a machine that filters out waste and extra fluid. You’ll need treatments thrice a week, each lasting 3 to 5 hours.
  • Peritoneal dialysis: A cleansing fluid infuses your abdomen, absorbing waste and excess fluid from your blood. After a few hours, the fluid is drains. It end manually or by using a machine while you sleep.

Dialysis helps replace kidney function but can tax your body over time. The good news is it buys you time until a donor’s kidney becomes available for transplant.

Kidney Transplant

A kidney transplant is often the best treatment option for kidney failure. A kidney from a living or deceased donor is transplanted into your body, which can filter waste and produce urine like normal kidneys. Transplants provide the closest thing to normal kidney function, allowing you to live without dialysis. However, you’ll need to take anti-rejection medications for life to prevent your body from attacking the new organ.

Kidney Failure Medication

For some types of kidney failure, medication may help improve or stabilize your kidney function. Certain drugs can reduce kidney damage, decrease protein in the urine, lower blood pressure, and control other problems. besides, the medication works best for chronic kidney disease in the early stages. For end-stage renal disease, dialysis or a transplant is typically needs.

In summary, the three treatment options for failure are dialysis, kidney transplant, and medication. By understanding each choice, you can work with your doctor to determine the best approach based on your condition’s severity and overall health. The goal is to help you live well despite failing kidneys.


So there you have it. But first, you need to know the facts about kidney failure to keep those vital organs healthy and functioning. However, your kidneys work hard for you daily, filtering waste and excess fluid out of your blood. So stay hydrated, maintain a healthy weight, control blood pressure and diabetes, limit certain medications, and avoid smoking or drug use.

While kidney failure can be a severe medical issue, the good news is that by making a few lifestyle changes and being aware of the warning signs, you can do your part to avoid problems and keep your kidneys going vital for life. So take care of yourself – your kidneys will thank you!

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Written by Vitals Blog

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