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Understanding Kidney Failure: Causes, 5 Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Are you recently going through some situations like a decline in urine output, swelling of legs and feet, weakness in the body, shortness of breath, etc? Then a red warning sign for you! You may have fallen prey to kidney failure because these are all kidney failure symptoms. Acute kidney failure, a serious medical condition related to your kidneys, may happen anytime and anywhere to any person, especially if the person is already hospitalized for some other illnesses and is in an ICU for his/her intensive care by the doctors.

Recognizing the signs of kidney failure of a person in time and giving him/her proper medical treatment is the only way to keep him alive or recover him from the disease. For that, the patient has to confide the kidney damage symptoms that he/she is facing clearly to the doctor. 

kidney failure
kidney failure

Acute kidney injury develops very quickly within a few days and can be disastrous if not attended properly. The ailment requires intensive care treatment by medical specialists. Without necessary treatment, the disease may turn chronic, declining the chance of the survival of the patient.

Craving to get more info about kidney failure? Wondering, what is kidney failure? How common is kidney failure? What happens when kidney failure starts? What are the first warning signs of kidney failure? And, how to cure kidney problems? Keep reading to know details about this condition. 

What Is Kidney Failure?

Kidney failure, also identified as renal failure, is the ultimate stage of kidney disorder in which either one or both kidneys of one’s body stops operating properly by themselves. It may be either acute or chronic, banking on the stringency of the disease. In acute kidney failure, the individual catches the disease promptly and encounters some kidney issue symptoms due to it. But, he/she still retains the chance of getting on back to his/her normal life with the assistance of proper medical treatment. However, for that, the recognition of the disorder through the kidney damage symptoms that he/she is confronting is very important. 

Acute kidney failure is a temporary issue. However, chronic kidney failure issue is a serious issue as it gets worse with time gradually. The person suffering from it is destined to carry the illness for a long term and has to be kept in intensive care under the supervision of a group of doctors. This is because this most terrible phase of kidney disorder is fatal without proper treatment and the negligence of the kidney issue symptoms may lead the patient to death within a few days/weeks. 

What Do The Kidneys Do?

Don’t have detailed knowledge about kidneys? Wondering, what the kidneys do? Well! Kidneys, the bean-shaped organs, that are situated under your ribcage in the backward direction, are two vital components of your body whose size resembles your fist’s size. They do numerous jobs and the most significant among them is enabling our body to eradicate toxins. Filtering your blood, they transmit the waste products outside your body through urine. You may also be interested in Discover the Health Benefits of Peanuts

You can also live with one properly working kidney in your body. However, if both kidneys fail to work, the waste products of your body start building up within your blood, leading to your eventual death (if proper treatment is not done). Identifying the kidney issue symptoms early and confiding them to your doctors may still give you the chance to survive through proper treatment (like dialysis, kidney transplant, etc). 

what do kidney do
what do kidneys do

Wondering, what causes kidney failure? Acute kidney failure occurs when one’s kidneys suddenly lose their capacity to seep waste products from his/her blood. Due to the loss of the filtering abilities of the kidneys, a high quantity of wastes (toxins) gets accumulated in the blood of the person, because of which his/her blood’s chemical composition loses its balance. Acute kidney failure depends on many factors for its occurrence. They are-

  • Some distinct acute or chronic diseases
  • The extreme scarcity of water in your body
  • Any sudden Injury to your kidney
  • Improper (low than usual) flow of blood to your kidneys
  • Intake of certain medications
  • Inhaling certain deadly environmental pollutants

5 Types Of Kidney Failure

In general, kidney failure is either acute (that happens suddenly) or chronic (that happens over time). However, if described in detail, Kidney failure can be classified into 5 types. They are-

1. Acute Prerenal Kidney Failure

In this condition, your kidneys lack sufficient blood because of inadequate blood flow into them. Because of it, the kidneys lose their capabilities to filter toxin materials present in your blood, resulting in kidney failure symptoms. This disease is curable if the kidney specialist determines the reason for your body’s decreased blood flow to the kidneys after hearing the kidney issue symptoms from you that you’re experiencing and diagnosing the same through various tests. 

2. Acute Intrinsic Kidney Failure

It’s a condition where your kidneys get traumatized because of any direct laceration over them. The cause of the injury may be an accident or any other physical attack on the kidneys. The disorder may also occur as a reaction to glomerulonephritis (inflammation of your diminutive renal blood vessels), intense bleeding, panic attack, or kidneys’ blood vessels’ blockage. With this disease, you will experience either all or a few of the signs of kidney failure. 

3. Chronic Intrinsic Kidney Failure

It’s a condition that is the outcome of intrinsic kidney disease. This intrinsic kidney disease leads to the damage of your kidneys (that occurs gradually over a long time), resulting in chronic kidney failure. This chronic renal disorder may happen due to any unrestrained injury to your kidneys. The unrestrained trauma includes serious bleeding, oxygen inadequacy, etc. 

4. Chronic Prerenal Kidney Failure

In this condition, both the kidneys of your body start shrinking and losing their functioning abilities. It happens because of inadequate renal blood flow for a lengthier duration. The situation is Serious and needs immediate treatment. 

5. Chronic Post-Renal Kidney Failure

This condition occurs when there remains a blockage in the urinary tract of your body for an extended duration. This blockage prevents the excretion of accumulated urine from your body. As a result, pressure is produced in the kidneys due to which they ultimately get damaged, resulting in kidney failure. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure Or Kidney Damage?

When the condition of kidney failure is in its early phase, you will hardly notice any kidney failure symptoms. About 90 percent of individuals with chronic kidney disorder are unaware of it (as per a report by CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). However, with the progression of the disease, the following signs of kidney failure start occurring :

What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure Or Kidney Damage
What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure Or Kidney Damage
  • Your urine output quantity gets decreased 
  • Excessive drowsy feeling and tiredness/feeling of exhaustion 
  • Your hands, legs, face, feet, or ankles swell out due to fluid retention (edema) resulting from the kidneys’ incapability to throw away wastewater  
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Confusion 
  • Coma
  • Dry skin that itches 
  • Metallic taste for foods or disliking consumption of foods
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling nauseous/puking 
  • Concentration issue

What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure In The Early Stage?

kidney failure symptoms that give you warning in its early stage are hard to specify because no such kidney damage symptoms occur initially. If they at all occur, they are mild and can’t be recognized easily. However, staying alert and watching the following signs of kidney problem will help you identify the disease-  

  • Sudden decline in your urine output quantity and peeing frequently 
  • Troubled breathing or shortness of breath 
  • Fluid retention in your legs which results in their swelling (edema)
  • Foamy urine instead of clear/pale yellow urine

5 Most Common Causes Of Kidney Failure

Acute kidney failure, though happens all of a sudden and never arises in one day. The disease, in reality, develops within the patient over years with hidden signs and symptoms of kidney failure. Due to the lack of symptoms and knowledge of the patients about it in the early stage and the carelessness of the person, the disease keeps on progressing to the next level.

As the patient keeps wondering, “What are the symptoms of kidney failure? the disease already progresses much within his/her body. And, the patient only comes to realize his/her problem when they gather knowledge about the signs and symptoms of kidney failure and keeps on getting those symptoms in their body. Now, you may wonder, “What causes kidney failure”? Well! Here are the 5 most common causes of kidney failure:

1. Hyperglycemia Or High Sugar Levels In The Blood:

Hyperglycemia is a condition that happens in diabetic patients where the sugar levels of your blood heighten. This heightening of your blood sugar levels due to unmanaged diabetes if keeps on happening invariably, creates pressure on your kidneys and damages them, resulting in kidney failure. 

2. High Blood Pressure

Marveling, what are the symptoms of kidney failure other than Hyperglycemia? People with high blood pressure are also susceptible to kidney failure sooner or later if they don’t control their blood pressure by taking the advice of the doctor. In high blood pressure conditions, the extra force with which your blood speedily travels to your blood vessels damages your renal tissues, resulting in the damage of kidneys and kidney failure.  

3. Polycystic Kidney Disease/PKD Or Lupus Or Glomerular Disease

PKD is an inherited ailment from your parents in which some cysts or sacs filled with fluids emerge within your kidneys. They eventually lead to kidney failure. Besides, kidney failure also happens to someone who is suffering or has suffered from Lupus or glomerular disease. Lupus is a kind of autoimmune syndrome in which various organs of the patient get damaged and he/she gets joint pain in his/her body. The patient also suffers from fever and skin rashes. In glomerular disease, your kidneys fail to filter out the waste materials from your blood properly.

4. Not Treating Various Systemic Diseases (Heart Disease, Sepsis, Liver Disease, etc) In Time

Kidney failure is also the result of negligence regarding various systemic diseases and leaving them untreated for a long period. For, example, negligence or improper treatment of the heart, liver, etc may result in heart attack, various heart diseases, and liver failure/scarring. Sepsis (severe infection in any body part that spreads to the body) is also a disease that with delinquency, spreads to the entire body of the patient. These diseases, in the long run, result in inadequate blood flow to your kidneys affecting the kidneys of your body and leading to their failure. 

5. Diseases Resulting In Insufficient Urine Output

There are some diseases, with whose occurrence, your urine output decreases. Some examples of such diseases are Colon cancer, cancer in the bladder, prostate cancer, and cervical cancer. These types of cancers block the passages from which the urine comes outside the body, resulting in improper urine output. This leads to overloaded kidneys and ultimate kidney failure. Some other conditions hinder your proper urination and cause kidney failure. They are kidney stones, bladder nerve damage, enlarged prostate, and urinary tract blood clots.  

What Causes Kidney Failure? – Miscellaneous Causes

Here are a few more causes of kidney failure: 

  • Persistent dehydration 
  • Allergic reactions
  • Intaking anti-inflammatory drugs or other medications
  • Severe burns
  • Infection in your body/body part that is left untreated
  • Drinking excessive alcohol
  • Heavy metal poisoning 
  • Blood vessels’ inflammation
  • Blood clots surrounding the kidneys
  • Intestinal bacterial infection leading to the breakdown of RBC (hemolytic uremic syndrome)
  • Chemotherapy drugs or certain antibiotics
  • Imaging tests dyes
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (blood clots within tiny blood vessels)
  • Plasma cells cancer in bone marrow (multiple myeloma)
  • Scleroderma (a skin-related autoimmune condition) 

How Is Kidney Failure Treated?

As now you are aware of “what the kidneys do” and “what is kidney failure”, you might be curious to know, “how to cure kidney failure”, right? Well! For treating kidney failure, you need to diagnose the problem of kidney failure first, isn’t it? As soon as you notice kidney failure symptoms in your body, visit a doctor. He will write for you some tests on his prescription. A few common tests that doctors usually suggest for testing kidney failure are-

  • Imaging
  • Kidney tissue sampling
  • Blood sampling
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine volume measurements

After your doctor diagnoses kidney failure issues in your body through any of these tests, they will suggest you some treatments depending on the present phase of your kidney failure. The treatments are:

How Is Kidney Failure Treated
How Is Kidney Failure Treated


It’s a treatment in which the device filters or purifies the blood of your body by performing the work that the kidneys do. Your doctor will explain everything about how to cure kidney failure through dialysis. A dialysis machine ranges from a large device to a small and portable catheter bag. Dialysis must be followed up side by side with a proper diet with low potassium and sodium. Your kidneys never return to normal condition by undergoing dialysis. However, scheduled dialysis treatments will make you Live longer. 

Kidney Transplant: 

A transplanted kidney is the best option to cure kidney failure and helps you to lead a normal life like before. After a kidney transplant, no dialysis is needed. However, the process is not so easy. For a kidney transplant, you have to get a donor’s kidney that matches your body, and it’s not so easy to get such a donor. Even if you get the donor, there are certain formal procedures that you have to go through before getting the kidneys implanted into your body.

Also, every patient’s body can’t tolerate the transplant surgery. So, the failure of surgery is also possible. Thus, the Kidney transplant option is not perfect for everyone. After a Kidney transplant, the patient has to intake immunosuppressant drugs so that his/her body doesn’t reject the newly implanted kidneys, which have certain serious side effects. Your doctor will guide you best regarding the possibility of the success of kidney transplant surgery in your body. 

Leading A Healthy Lifestyle With Some Dietary Changes:

Once kidney failure occurs in a person, it’s difficult to revert to the previous condition. But, the person can stop the condition from being more severe by following a healthy routine and food habits daily. Making some lifestyle changes saves him from further complications in his kidneys or death. Such healthy lifestyle or dietary changes are-

  • Cutting down the rate of consumption of alcohol
  • Limiting foods enriched in sodium and potassium
  • Intaking protein-rich foods while maintaining doctors’ guidelines 
  • Limiting foods that comprise a lot of phosphorus 

Kidney Failure Prevention:

There are certain methods for preventing or lowering kidney failure risks. They are-

  • Taking over-the-counter drugs (especially aspirin) by following proper directions on the packets
  • Eating healthy foods and sustaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Avoiding self-medication and taking medicines prescribed by doctors only in the suggested quantity, not more than that
  • Controlling cholesterol, diabetes, heart conditions, and blood pressure by following doctor’s suggestions 

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors of kidney failure as it may give rise to many other complications in the body. Such risk factors are: 

  • Fluid retention in your lower body parts or lungs
  • Shortage of blood in your body or Anemia
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Weakness in bones
  • Heart issues
  • Depression
  • Gout
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Liver failure
  • Skin issues
  • Never injury

FAQs about Kidney Failure

Q1. How common is kidney failure?

Ans. Kidney failure is quite a common disease all over the world, especially in the US, where almost 750,000 plus people get attacked by it. Among them, 15 percent of people suffer from chronic kidney failure. If calculated on a global basis, almost 2 million people all around the world are suffering from kidney failures.

Q2. What happens when kidney failure starts?

Ans. When kidney failure starts, your kidneys fail to filter your blood’s waste products properly. As a result, a dangerous quantity of toxins gets deposited in your blood which makes your blood’s chemical balance imbalanced.  

Q3. What are the first warning signs of kidney failure?

Ans. The first indication of kidney failure or initial kidney failure symptoms are- 

Sudden decline in your urine output quantity and peeing frequently 
Troubled breathing or shortness of breath 
Fluid retention in your legs which results in their swelling (edema)
Foamy urine instead of clear/pale yellow urine

Q4. How to cure kidney problems?

Ans. Kidney problems can’t be cured. However, they can be controlled by making healthy lifestyle changes, eating healthy foods, controlling diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure, and taking proper medicines suggested by doctors. But, for that, you have to identify the signs of kidney problems that you are experiencing and confide them to your doctor. For kidney failure, doctors advise dialysis or a kidney transplant. 

Q5. How is kidney failure diagnosed?

Ans. Doctors assume Kidney failure after listening to the signs of kidney problems that their patients are experiencing. After that they advise one or all of the following tests to their patients to diagnose the condition: 
Kidney tissue sampling
Blood sampling
Urine volume measurements

Q6. What are the signs of bad liver and kidney function?

Ans. Here are the signs of bad liver and kidney function: 
Swelling of the abdominal areas due to fluid retention
Confusion and feelings of unrest
Urine is of dark color
The sudden gain in your weight
Skin turns yellow
Nauseous feeling with vomiting
Decline in urination
Muscle jerks

Team HealthCoachJp
Team HealthCoachJphttps://healthcoachjp.com
We are health journalists with a passion for sharing the latest medical breakthroughs and health news with our readers. With over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, we strive to make complex medical topics accessible and easy to understand for the general public. We are committed to promoting evidence-based information and empowering readers to make informed decisions about their health.

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