Damage to the kidneys that results in loss of normal kidney function is known as renal failure. There are two types of kidney failure. Acute kidney failure starts abruptly and can sometimes be reversed. Chronic kidney failure progresses slowly and can lead to permanent kidney failure.
There are many conditions that may lead to acute kidney failure including:
Symptoms of acute kidney failure depend on the underlying cause however, some common symptoms may include:
Treatment may include hospitalization and:
There are many conditions that may lead to chronic kidney failure like:
Treatment for chronic kidney failure depends on the level of kidney function.
Dialysis. This process is used to treat both acute and chronic kidney failure. It involves removing waste substances and fluid from the blood that are normally removed by the kidneys. Dialysis may also be used for people who have been exposed to or ingested toxic substances. In this case, dialysis is used to prevent kidney failure. There are 2 types of dialysis; peritoneal and hemodialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis. This is done by surgically placing a soft, hollow tube, called a catheter, into the lower abdomen near the navel. A solution called dialysate is passed through the tube into the peritoneal cavity. This is the space in the abdomen that houses the organs. It is lined by 2 membrane layers called the peritoneum. The solution is left in the abdomen for a certain amount of time. There, it soaks up the waste products and toxins through the peritoneum. The fluid is drained from the abdomen, measured and discarded. There are different types of peritoneal dialysis—some require a machine, others do not.
Hemodialysis. This can be done at home, in a dialysis center or hospital. An access site is surgically made, usually in your arm. This involves joining an artery and a vein together. After access has been made, you will be connected to a large hemodialysis machine that drains the blood. The blood is bathed in a dialysate solution which removes waste and fluid. Then, the clean blood is returned to your bloodstream. Hemodialysis is usually done several times a week and lasts for 4 to 5 hours. During treatment you can read, write, sleep, talk, or watch TV.
People with kidney failure are living longer than ever. Dialysis treatment is not a cure for kidney failure but can help patients feel better and live longer. Over the years, kidney failure can cause other problems such as bone disease, high blood pressure, nerve damage, and anemia (having too few red blood cells). Discuss how to prevent and treat these problems with your healthcare provider.