Acute Kidney Failure

What is acute kidney failure?

Acute kidney failure is a condition when the kidneys are unable to get rid of toxic substances and excess fluids and balance water and electrolytes optimally. Generally, the kidneys get rid of waste in the body by producing urine. Meanwhile, kidney problems actually cause a buildup of waste and fluid because they cannot be secreted properly. Acute kidney disease can appear suddenly and progress quickly. If not treated immediately, acute kidney failure can be fatal.

How common is acute kidney failure?

About 1% of patients with this disease are admitted to the hospital. However, it is estimated that 2-5% of patients need to be hospitalized. This disease also often occurs in patients undergoing hospital treatment, especially intensive care and the elderly.

Therefore, this disease needs to be consulted with a doctor for more information.

Signs and symptoms of acute kidney failure

Most patients with this disease from mild to moderate do not show any symptoms. This makes kidney disease need to be confirmed through examination of kidney function and abnormalities.

If the level of kidney damage is very severe, there are several symptoms that may occur. Launching the National Kidney Foundation, signs and symptoms of acute kidney failure will vary from person to person, depending on the cause.

Here are some symptoms of acute kidney failure.

  • Feeling sluggish and easily sleepy.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Swelling in the arms and legs.
  • Reduced frequency of urination.
  • Fever.
  • Chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Bad breath and metallic taste in the mouth.
  • Mood worsens, especially in the elderly.
  • Back pain.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Anemia due to reduced red blood cell production.

If there are other symptoms that are not mentioned above, you should consult a doctor. The reason is, acute kidney injury can worsen quickly even without any symptoms.

When should you see a doctor?

If you experience one or more of the above symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Everyone may have different conditions and medical history, so it is necessary to discuss with a doctor to get the right treatment.

Causes of acute kidney failure

The causes of this condition can be divided into three categories, namely prerenal (decreased urine volume), intrinsic (problems processing in the kidneys), and postrenal. This type of kidney failure also often occurs due to slow blood flow to the kidneys.

This results in the accumulation of toxins and waste in the body. Below are some causes of acute kidney disease that you need to be aware of.

1. Decreased blood flow

There are several diseases and medical conditions that cause blood flow to the kidneys to slow down, causing acute kidney injury below.

  • Low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Blood or fluid loss due to severe bleeding or diarrhea.
  • Decreased heart function due to a heart attack or other heart disease.
  • Organ failure, such as heart failure and liver failure.
  • Overuse of painkillers (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.
  • Having a severe allergic reaction.
  • Have had an accident that caused an injury.
  • Had major surgery.

2. Direct damage to the kidneys

Direct damage to the kidneys does not occur without a cause. Below are some diseases and medical conditions that can cause damage to the kidneys to lead to acute kidney failure.

  • Severe, life-threatening infections, such as sepsis.
  • Have a type of cancer called multiple myeloma.
  • The presence of inflammation and scarring of the blood vessels (vasculitis).
  • Allergic reactions to certain drugs.
  • Diseases that affect the connective tissue that supports internal organs (scleroderma).
  • Inflammation or damage to the renal tubules, such as glomerulonephritis.

3. Blocked urinary tract

For people who experience blockages in the urinary tract, it can also cause acute kidney injury. Below are some of the causes of blocked urinary tract that lead to acute kidney failure.

  • Bladder, prostate, or cervical cancer.
  • Prostate enlargement.
  • Nervous system disorders that affect the bladder and urine.
  • Kidney stones.
  • The presence of blood clots in the urinary tract.

In addition to the diseases and medical problems above, the contracted fluid used in X-Ray or CT-scans can also cause acute kidney disease.

Risk factors for acute kidney failure

A person's chances of developing acute kidney failure are greater when you are old or have a medical condition:

  • history of kidney disease
  • high blood pressure (hypertension),
  • diabetes,
  • obesity,
  • autoimmune disease,
  • hospitalized, especially when undergoing intensive care, as well as
  • blockage of blood vessels in the arms and legs (peripheral arterial).

Limiting risk factors will help reduce the risk of acute kidney disease. If you have any of the above factors, ask your doctor for instructions to prevent acute kidney failure.

Diagnosis of acute renal failure

Each person suspected of having acute kidney failure will undergo a different kidney examination depending on the cause. The sooner acute kidney disease is diagnosed, the better your chances of recovery.

If acute kidney injury is not treated promptly, the disease can progress to chronic kidney disease, leading to heart disease and death.

  • Below are other tests needed to diagnose acute kidney failure.
  • Urine test (urinalysis) to check the volume and content of urine.
  • Blood tests to test the levels of creatinine, blood urea, and potassium in the blood.
  • GFR to see the function of the glomerular filtration rate, whether it is working well or not.
  • Ultrasound and CT-scan to make it easier for doctors to see the condition and shape of the kidneys.
  • Kidney biopsy by removing kidney tissue with a special needle.

Treatment of acute kidney failure

Those of you who experience acute kidney failure certainly need treatment that is supervised by a doctor. Treatment of this disease also depends on the cause and most cases require hospitalization.

Below are some of the treatment options.

1. Balance the amount of fluid in the blood

If acute kidney failure is caused by a lack of fluid in the blood, the doctor will recommend receiving intravenous (IV) fluids.

On the other hand, when acute kidney disease is caused by excess fluid buildup, your doctor may recommend a diuretic drug that removes the extra fluid.

2. Control blood potassium

Damage to the kidneys makes this bean-shaped organ unable to properly filter potassium from the blood.

Therefore, the doctor may give you calcium, glucose, or sodium polystyrene sulfonate drugs to control the level of the mineral potassium in the blood.

3. Restore calcium levels in the blood

Acute kidney failure can lower the level of the mineral calcium in the blood, so you may need an IV or medication to restore calcium in the blood.

4. Dialysis to remove toxins from the blood

The buildup of toxins in the blood sometimes makes you need dialysis (dialysis) for a while. This treatment is useful for removing toxins and excess body fluids until acute kidney failure can be cured.

5. Follow a certain diet

In addition to giving certain drugs, patients with acute kidney failure will also be advised to undergo a certain diet. This aims to reduce the buildup of toxins. This specific diet for kidney failure includes:

  • a high-carbohydrate and low-protein diet,
  • limit the consumption of salt and sodium and potassium, and
  • recommendation for calcium supplement consumption.

Treatment of acute kidney failure at home

Treatment of acute kidney failure will not work if it is not accompanied by changing a healthier lifestyle.

Below are some tips for living with acute kidney disease and some home remedies that might help you.

  • Stick to a low protein diet to prevent complications.
  • Use medicine according to doctor's advice.
  • Regularly weigh yourself.
  • Record the amount of water drunk and the frequency of urine each day.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are infected with toxic chemicals or other drugs.
  • Limiting the amount of fluid so that there is no accumulation of fluid in the body.
  • Consult a doctor regarding the use of drugs, including herbal remedies.
  • Avoid activities or things that can damage the kidneys more severely.

If acute kidney failure is cured, you may not need to go on a special diet. However, do not leave a healthy lifestyle and still maintain a nutritional balance.

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