All you need to know about Acute Kidney Failure.
Know your ailment well, so you can manage it better!!
Here we come with Acute Kidney Failure today!
Acute Kidney Failure is also known as Acute Renal Failure or Acute Kidney Injury.
Acute kidney failure is when your kidneys stop working suddenly. Doctors sometimes call it an acute renal failure/ acute kidney injury/disease. It can happen over just a few hours or days.
Acute kidney injury isn’t always permanent. If you get treatment right away and if you don’t have other serious health problems your kidneys can go back to working normally.
The main job of your kidneys is to filter waste out of your blood. They also remove extra fluid from your blood (this becomes urine) and control blood pressure. Kidneys help make red blood cells. They regulate electrolytes (a type of nutrient) and activate vitamin D, too.
Kidneys don’t work well when they’re damaged. This could happen because of another health condition, like diabetes. A decrease in kidney function that happens over a longer period of time is called chronic kidney failure.
What are the causes of Acute Kidney Injury?
Acute kidney failure can occur for many reasons. Among the most common reasons are:
- acute tubular necrosis (ATN)
- severe or sudden dehydration
- toxic kidney injury from poisons or certain medications
- autoimmune kidney diseases, such as acute nephritic syndrome and interstitial nephritis
- urinary tract obstruction
Reduced blood flow can damage your kidneys. The following conditions can lead to decreased blood flow to your kidneys:
- low blood pressure
- septic shock
- serious illness
Certain disorders can cause clotting within your kidney’s blood vessels, and this can lead to acute kidney failure. These conditions include:
- hemolytic uremic syndrome
- idiopathic thrombocytopenic thrombotic purpura (ITTP)
- malignant hypertension
- transfusion reaction
Some infections, such as septicemia and acute pyelonephritis, can directly injure your kidneys.
Pregnancy can also cause complications that harm the kidneys, including placenta previa and placenta abruption.
What are the symptoms of Acute Kidney Injury?
You may not have any symptoms of acute kidney failure. Your doctor may discover you have this condition while doing lab tests for another reason.
If you do have symptoms, they’ll depend on how bad your loss of kidney function is, how quickly you lose kidney function and the reasons for your kidney failure. Symptoms may include:
- Peeing less than normal
- Swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet (caused by your body holding on to fluid)
- Feeling drowsy or very tired
- Shortness of breath
- Joint pain, swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Throwing up or feeling like you’re going to
- Chest pain or pressure
- Muscle twitching
- Seizures or coma (in severe cases)
- Stomach and back pain
What are the risk factors of Acute Kidney Injury?
Acute kidney failure almost always occurs in connection with another medical condition or event. Conditions that can increase your risk of acute kidney failure include:
- Being hospitalized, especially for a serious condition that requires intensive care
- Advanced age
- Blockages in the blood vessels in your arms or legs (peripheral artery disease)
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Kidney diseases
- Liver diseases
- Certain cancers and their treatments
What are the complications of Acute Kidney Injury?
Potential complications of acute kidney failure include:
- Fluid buildup. Acute kidney failure may lead to a buildup of fluid in your lungs, which can cause shortness of breath.
- Chest pain. If the lining that covers your heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed, you may experience chest pain.
- Muscle weakness. When your body’s fluids and electrolytes — your body’s blood chemistry — are out of balance, muscle weakness can result.
- Permanent kidney damage. Occasionally, acute kidney failure causes permanent loss of kidney function, or end-stage renal disease. People with end-stage renal disease require either permanent dialysis — a mechanical filtration process used to remove toxins and wastes from the body — or a kidney transplant to survive.
- Death. Acute kidney failure can lead to loss of kidney function and, ultimately, death.
How is Acute Kidney Injury diagnosed?
Depending on the cause of your acute kidney injury, your healthcare provider will run different tests if he or she suspects that you may have AKI. It is important that AKI is found as soon as possible because it can lead to chronic kidney disease or even kidney failure. It may also lead to heart disease or death.
The following tests may be done:
- Measuring urine output: Your healthcare provider will track how much urine you pass each day to help find the cause of your AKI.
- Urine tests: Your healthcare provider will look at your urine (urinalysis) to find signs of kidney failure
- Blood tests: Blood tests will help find levels of creatinine, urea nitrogen phosphorus and potassium should be done in addition to blood tests for protein in order to look at kidney function.
- GFR: Your blood test will also help find your GFR (glomerular filtration rate) to estimate the decrease in kidney function
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests, such as ultrasound, may help your doctor see your kidneys and look for anything abnormal.
- Kidney biopsy: In some situations, your healthcare provider will do a procedure where a tiny piece of your kidney is removed with a special needle, and looked at under a microscope.
What is the treatment for Acute Kidney Injury?
Treatment for acute kidney failure typically requires a hospital stay. Most people with acute kidney failure are already hospitalized. How long you’ll stay in the hospital depends on the reason for your acute kidney failure and how quickly your kidneys recover.
In some cases, you may be able to recover at home.
Treating the underlying cause of your kidney injury
Treatment for acute kidney failure involves identifying the illness or injury that originally damaged your kidneys. Your treatment options depend on what’s causing your kidney failure.
Treating complications until your kidneys recover
Your doctor will also work to prevent complications and allow your kidneys time to heal. Treatments that help prevent complications include:
- Treatments to balance the number of fluids in your blood. If your acute kidney failure is caused by a lack of fluids in your blood, your doctor may recommend intravenous (IV) fluids. In other cases, acute kidney failure may cause you to have too much fluid, leading to swelling in your arms and legs. In these cases, your doctor may recommend medications (diuretics) to cause your body to expel extra fluids.
- Medications to control blood potassium. If your kidneys aren’t properly filtering potassium from your blood, your doctor may prescribe calcium, glucose or sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kionex) to prevent the accumulation of high levels of potassium in your blood. Too much potassium in the blood can cause dangerous irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and muscle weakness.
- Medications to restore blood calcium levels. If the levels of calcium in your blood drop too low, your doctor may recommend an infusion of calcium.
- Dialysis to remove toxins from your blood. If toxins build up in your blood, you may need temporary hemodialysis — often referred to simply as dialysis — to help remove toxins and excess fluids from your body while your kidneys heal. Dialysis may also help remove excess potassium from your body. During dialysis, a machine pumps blood out of your body through an artificial kidney (dialyzer) that filters out waste. The blood is then returned to your body.
How to Cope UP :
During your recovery from acute kidney failure, your doctor may recommend a special diet to help support your kidneys and limit the work they must do. Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian who can analyze your current diet and suggest ways to make your diet easier on your kidneys.
Depending on your situation, your dietitian may recommend that you:
- Choose lower potassium foods. Your dietitian may recommend that you choose lower potassium foods. High-potassium foods include bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes. Examples of low-potassium foods include apples, cauliflower, peppers, grapes and strawberries.
- Avoid products with added salt. Lower the amount of sodium you eat each day by avoiding products with added salt, including many convenience foods, such as frozen dinners, canned soups and fast foods. Other foods with added salt include salty snack foods, canned vegetables, and processed meats and cheeses.
- Limit phosphorus. Phosphorus is a mineral found in foods, such as whole-grain bread, oatmeal, bran cereals, dark-colored colas, nuts and peanut butter. Too much phosphorus in your blood can weaken your bones and cause skin itchiness. Your dietitian can give you specific recommendations on phosphorus and how to limit it in your particular situation.
As your kidneys recover, you may no longer need to eat a special diet, although healthy eating remains important.
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