Acute Kidney Failure Diagnosis
Your doctor will start with a physical exam. Then, theyâll order tests of your blood, urine, and kidneys.
Blood tests. These measure substances in your blood.
- Creatinine is a waste product in your blood thatâs made by muscle activity. Normally, itâs removed from your blood by your kidneys. But if your kidneys stop working, your creatinine level rises.
- Urea nitrogen is another waste product in your blood. Itâs created when protein from the foods is broken down. Like creatinine, your kidneys remove this from your blood. When your kidneys stop working, your urea nitrogen levels rise.
- Serum potassium is a substance found in your blood that balances water levels in your bloodstream. Kidney disease can cause either high or low potassium levels.
- Serum sodium is another substance in your blood that helps with fluid balance in your body. High sodium levels can mean that your kidneys arenât working properly because your body canât get rid of the right amount of sodium.
Urine tests. Your doctor will check your pee for blood and protein. Theyâll also look for certain electrolytes. The results help your doctor understand whatâs causing your kidney failure.
Urine output measurement. This measures how much urine you pass in 24 hours. You will get a container to take home, pee into, and then return to the lab after a full 24 hours. It can help your doctor determine why youâre having kidney failure.
Acute Kidney Failure Complications
Acute kidney failure can sometimes cause complications. These include:
- Fluid buildup. Acute kidney failure can sometimes cause a buildup of fluid in your body. If fluid builds up in your lungs, this can cause shortness of breath.
- Chest pain. If the lining that covers your heart becomes inflamed, you may have chest pain.
- Acidic blood . If your blood has too much acid due to acute kidney failure, you can end up with nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and breathlessness.
- Muscle weakness. When your body’s fluids and electrolytes are out of balance, you can get muscle weakness. In serious cases, this can lead to paralysis and heart rhythm problems.
- Permanent kidney damage. Acute kidney failure can become chronic and your kidneys will stop working almost entirely or completely. This is called end-stage renal disease. If this happens, you will need to go on permanent dialysis or get a kidney transplant.
- Death. Acute kidney failure can lead to loss of kidney function that is so bad, it can cause death.
How Do I Adjust To Dialysis
Starting dialysis often means creating a new normal for yourself and your family. Thereâs a lot to think about, from choosing a treatment option, to finding new ways to enjoy your favorite activities, to managing a new diet. The FIRST30 program is all about helping you through this period of adjustment. Here, youâll find videos featuring people like you, who once were new to dialysis, as well as a checklist of important questions to ask your health care team.
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What Are The Complications Of A Solitary Kidney
Complications from a solitary kidney are rare but may include
- increased protein in the urine, known as albuminuria.
- a lower-than-normal glomerular filtration rate;, which measures how quickly your kidneys filter wastes and extra fluid from your blood. While less common, this complication can at times lead to kidney failure.
- high blood pressure.
- high blood pressure during pregnancy. This complication less commonly results in organ damage in the mother or child, a condition known as preeclampsia.
People with kidney agenesis or kidney dysplasia can be at an increased risk for developing kidney disease. For example, if your solitary kidney functioned normally during childhood, you still have an increased risk of having decreased kidney function;as an adult.4,5
Protecting Your Single Kidney From Injury
If you have a single kidney, injuring it can be a big problem because there isnt another one to compensate. If the injury is severe and your kidney stops working completely, you would need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.
To avoid this, its very important to protect your single kidney from injury. Avoid contact sports that could lead to kidney injury. These include:
- bungee jumping
Over the long term, unless your kidney gets injured, loss of function in your single kidney is usually very mild and unnoticeable.
Most people with a single kidney dont need to follow a special diet, but like people with two kidneys, you should eat a healthy balanced diet.
Staying normally hydrated and drinking when thirsty is better than overhydration or dehydration.
If you have a single kidney because you had a transplant or if you have kidney disease, you may need to limit the amount of sodium, phosphorous, and protein in your diet. This is because your kidney cant remove them from your blood very well, so they build up.
You may also have to limit the amount of fluids you drink.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your nutritional needs and dietary restrictions.
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How Is Kidney Disease Diagnosed
If you might have a kidney condition, you’ll probably visit a pediatric nephrologist , a doctor who specializes in treating kidney diseases. The doctor will ask you about any concerns and symptoms you have, your past health, your family’s health, any medicines you’re taking, any allergies you have, and other issues. This is called your .
The doctor will want to do urine tests and blood tests to look for signs of structural issues, an infection, glomerulonephritis, or nephrotic syndrome, and to check how well your kidneys are working.
One test commonly used to detect kidney conditions is a renal ultrasound. This picture of the kidneys is made using sound waves. It shows how big the kidney is, its shape, and whether there is anything unusual, such as blockage of the urine flow or swelling. An ultrasound is safe and painless.
Sometimes doctors order a test called a renal scan. A dye is injected into the veins and then pictures are taken that show how blood flows through the kidneys. This tells a doctor whether pee is being made normally. In another test, called a kidney biopsy, the doctor uses a special needle to remove a tiny piece of the kidney to check under a microscope.
Acute Kidney Failure Symptoms
Signs that your kidneys have stopped working effectively are caused by the buildup of fluid and toxins in the body. The most obvious sign is a decrease in the amount of urine that is put out, although this isnt always the case. Some people do continue to produce urine, but lab tests will show that the urine is not normal.
Someone with acute kidney injury usually also looks swollen, as the fluid accumulates in the bodys tissues. This swelling is called edema and can come on very quickly.
Other symptoms of acute kidney failure can include:
- Shortness of breath
Urine and blood tests tell doctors how well your kidneys are functioning, so many samples are taken during diagnosis and treatment. For example, the doctors test for creatinine, which is created when muscle begins to break down. A BUN test tells you if a substance called urea is building up in the blood, an indicator that the kidneys are not filtering waste properly.
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What Is Chronic Kidney Disease
Most kidney problems, however, happen slowly over a long period of time. You may have silent kidney disease for years. Gradual loss of kidney function is called chronic kidney disease or chronic renal insufficiency. Those with CKD often go on to permanent kidney failure. The damage that results from chronic kidney disease cannot be reversed.
What Is Peritoneal Dialysis
Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the abdominal cavity as the dialysis filter to rid the body of waste and to balance electrolyte levels. A catheter is placed in the abdominal cavity through the abdominal wall by a surgeon, and it is expected to remain in place for the long-term. The dialysis solution is then dripped in through the catheter and left in the abdominal cavity for a few hours after which, it is drained out. During that time, waste products leech from the blood flowing through the lining of the abdomen , and attach themselves to the fluid that has been instilled by the catheters. Often, patients instill the dialysate fluid before bedtime, and drain it in the morning.
There are benefits and complications for each type of dialysis. Not every patient can choose which type he or she would prefer. The treatment decision depends on the patient’s illness and their past medical history along with other issues. Usually, the nephrologist will have a long discussion with the patient and family to decide what will be the best option available.
Dialysis is lifesaving. Without it, patients whose kidneys no longer function would die relatively quickly due to electrolyte abnormalities and the buildup of toxins in the blood stream. Patients may live many years with dialysis but other underlying and associated illnesses often are the cause of death.
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Difficulty In Sleeping During Night
When kidneys fail to filter waste products properly, toxins remain present in human blood instead of leaving from the body via urine. This may cause difficulty in sleeping. In addition, there is a close connection in between chronic kidney disease and obesity, while the problem of sleep apnea becomes common among individuals suffering from chronic kidney diseases.
What Are Dialysis And Hemodialysis
Dialysis cleanses the body of waste products in the body by use of filter systems. There are two types of dialysis, 1) hemodialysis and 2) peritoneal dialysis.
Hemodialysis uses a machine filter called a dialyzer or artificial kidney to remove excess water and salt, to balance the other electrolytes in the body, and to remove waste products of metabolism. Blood is removed from the body and flows through tubing into the machine, where it passes next to a filter membrane. A specialized chemical solution flows on the other side of the membrane. The dialysate is formulated to draw impurities from the blood through the filter membrane. Blood and dialysate never touch in the artificial kidney machine.
For this type of dialysis, access to the blood vessels needs to be surgically created so that large amounts of blood can flow into the machine and back to the body. Surgeons can build a fistula, a connection between a large artery and vein in the body, usually in the arm, that allows a large amount of blood to flow into the vein. This makes the vein swell or dilate, and its walls become thicker so that it can tolerate repeated needle sticks to attach tubing from the body to the machine. Since it takes many weeks or months for a fistula to mature enough to be used, significant planning is required if hemodialysis is to be considered as an option.
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Are Dietary Changes Needed
In general, people with one;healthy kidney dont need special diets. However, its always good to:
- have a healthy well-balanced diet
- reduce your salt intake
Dietary restrictions arent usually necessary for people who have received a transplanted kidney but its still worth following a healthy diet and watching your salt intake. However, you will probably be advised to avoid fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice because they can interfere with certain medications. If you are advised by your kidney consultant to make specific changes to your diet, ask to be referred to the renal dietitian and follow their advice.
For more information about diet and kidney disease take a look at our dietary hints and tips.
National Kidney And Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
3 Information Way Phone: 18008915390 Fax: 7037384929 Internet: www.kidney.niddk.nih.gov/ The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1987, the Clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The NKUDIC answers inquiries, develops and distributes publications, and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases. Publications produced by the Clearinghouse are carefully reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts. This publication was reviewed by Akinlolu Ojo, M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan. This publication is not copyrighted. The Clearinghouse encourages users of this publication to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.
NIH Publication No. 075390 July 2007
Kidney & Urology Foundation of America104 West 40th Street, Suite 500 | New York NY 10018 | 212.629.977063 West Main Street, Suite G | Freehold, NJ 07728 | 732.866.44441.800.633.6628Kidney & Urology Foundation of America is a national, 501 c not-for-profit organization.©
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What Happens When Your Kidneys Fail
The slow loss of kidney function over a few months or years is called chronic kidney disease . Chronic kidney disease can occur when a condition damages your kidneys and keeps them from doing their job to keep you healthy. When your kidneys fail, dangerous levels of fluids and waste can build up in your body and make you feel sick. Kidney failure occurs when you have less than 15% of your kidney function. When your kidneys fail you may require dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.
Chronic kidney disease may be caused by:
- High blood pressure and diabetes the most common causes of kidney disease
- Inflammation or infections
- Inherited genetic conditions such as polycystic disease
- Long-term blockage in the urinary system
Early detection and treatment can help prevent chronic kidney disease from getting worse.
What Are The Kidneys Where Are They Located
The kidneys play key roles in body function, not only by filtering the blood and getting rid of waste products, but also by balancing the electrolyte levels in the body, controlling blood pressure, and stimulating the production of red blood cells.
The kidneys are located in the abdomen toward the back, normally one on each side of the spine. They get their blood supply through the renal arteries directly from the aorta and send blood back to the heart via the renal veins to the vena cava.
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Learn How To Get Started
A person who donates a kidney to someone in need is called a living donor, and a person who needs a kidney is called a transplant candidate.
Any adult who is in good health can be assessed to become a living donor. Every potential donor must have a complete medical checkup to make sure they are healthy enough to donate a kidney to a person in need.
The kidney donation process involves an operation to remove one kidney from the donor and another surgery to place the kidney into the transplant candidate. After the donation, the donors remaining kidney starts to work harder, to make up for the removed kidney. The donor should have a checkup with a doctor every year to make sure their remaining kidney is still working correctly.
Types of living donation
This type of donation occurs when a potential donor knows a transplant candidate and is a match to that person. Directed donors can be biologically related to the transplant candidate or unrelated .
Non-directed anonymous donation
This type of donation occurs when a person offers to donate a kidney that could go to anyone they match who needs a kidney transplant. A donation like this can help one transplant candidate if the kidney is given directly to someone on the waitlist. Alternatively, this type of donation might help several people through the Kidney Paired Donation program. In this program, a kidney donation from one NDAD can kick-start a chain of donor exchanges.
The Role Of Kidneys In The Human Body
Although many people dont think about their kidneys, they are some of the hardest-working organs in the body. The kidneys are responsible for filtering more than 120 quarts of blood every single day. The waste products that are filtered out are quickly eliminated by the body in the form of urine, composed of excess salts, fats, toxins and liquid. ;The ureter is connected to the kidney , and flows down into the bladder, where urine is stored and then eliminated from the body.
Aside from assuring that waste is properly disposed of, kidneys are also critical to the balance of electrolytes in our body. Minerals like sodium, potassium and calcium, among others, help to maintain water balance in the system, as well as optimize nervous system communication. Without the kidneys functioning, or present, the body would not be able to function. The composition of our blood must remain stable, if we are to remain healthy, and the kidneys guarantee that happens.
Furthermore, kidneys produce key hormones that the body requires, such as hormones for strengthening bones, creating new red blood cells and maintaining blood pressure. Clearly, while the kidneys are often overlooked behind major organs like the brain, heart and lungs, they are just as critical to our survival.
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Living With One Functioning Kidney
Our kidneys perform many functions that are vital to good health, but it is not unusual to have only one kidney to do the work of two.
- Many people are born with a single kidney.
- Some people have to have one kidney surgically removed because they may have developed an obstruction or a tumour or sustained a severe traumatic injury after an accident.
- Some people may have received a kidney from a living or deceased donor , after their own kidneys have failed.
- Others may have donated one of their kidneys to a loved one or another person with kidney failure .