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What Happens When Your Kidneys Fail

What Are The Kidneys Where Are They Located

How your kidneys work and what happens when they fail

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.

What Happens When Your Kidneys Fail

Kidneys act as a natural filter for all the waste products produced in the body, they also help to regulate the fluid and electrolyte balance. They help to keep the blood pressure within normal limits and secrete a hormone which helps in red blood cell production.

When kidneys fail to perform their normal function, the waste products accumulate in the blood and the fluid balance is disturbed, this is termed as kidney failure on ESRD , which can happen gradually or suddenly. People with ESRD need dialysis or transplant to sustain life.

Feeling Faint Dizzy Or Weak

Why this happens:

Anemia related to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to feeling faint, dizzy, or weak.

What patients said:

I was always tired and dizzy.

It got to the point, like, I used to be at work, and all of the sudden Iâd start getting dizzy. So I was thinking maybe it was my blood pressure or else diabetes was going bad. Thatâs what was on my mind.

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Causes Of Kidney Failure

Some of the causes of kidney failure include:

  • diabetes even if it is well managed, diabetes can cause kidney damage
  • glomerulonephritis swelling or inflammation of the tiny filtering units in the kidney. Also known as nephritis
  • polycystic kidney disease an inherited condition that causes thousands of cysts to form in the kidneys
  • urinary reflux a bladder-valve problem that allows urine to flow back into the kidneys, causing scarring
  • medications some drugs such as lithium and cyclosporin can cause kidney failure. Continued misuse of compound analgesic preparations was once a common cause of permanent kidney damage. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , taken in normal therapeutic doses, may occasionally cause acute kidney failure
  • medullary cystic kidney disease an inherited kidney disease that leads to the kidneys gradually losing their ability to work properly due to cysts in the centre of the kidneys.

Are There Any Ways To Prevent Kidney Failure

What Happens When Kidneys Fail Causes Signs &  Treatment

Now you know what happens when your kidneys fail, but the good news is there are certain precautionary measures which can be taken to prevent kidney damage. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Alcohol can damage kidneys, try to limit your alcohol intake. Men and women older than 65 years should not exceed the limit of one drink per day.
  • If you have high blood pressure it is very important to have regular check-ups and to keep the blood pressure within recommended limits.
  • Diabetes damages kidneys. If you are diabetic, it is very important to control the blood sugar levels.
  • Try to maintain a healthy body weight. Do regular exercise and avoid junk food.
  • Do not take unnecessary pain killers, they can damage the kidneys.
  • If you want to preserve the kidney function, quit smoking.

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If The First Phase Of Treatment Is Successful What Happens Next

The second phase of treatment is to help keep the kidneys functioning as long and normally as possible. This is usually accomplished with one or more of the following, depending on your pet’s condition:

A special diet – Nutrition is one of the cornerstones in the effective treatment of dogs with chronic kidney failure. The ideal diet for a dog with kidney failure is lower in protein, low in phosphorus, and is not acidified. This type of diet helps reduce the amount of protein wastes or “metabolic toxins” that may make your pet feel sick and lethargic. In advanced kidney disease, a decreased protein diet will also decrease the workload on the kidneys. Nutritionists have developed commercial therapeutic diets that are designed for treating various stages of chronic kidney disease. Your veterinarian will recommend the most appropriate diet, containing the necessary quantity and quality of nutrients for your dog.

A phosphate binder – Phosphorus is removed from the body by filtering through the kidneys. Once the filtration process is impaired, phosphorous begins to accumulate in the blood. Elevated blood phosphorus levels also contribute to lethargy and poor appetite. Certain drugs will bind excess phosphates in the intestinal tract so they are not absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in lower blood levels of phosphorus.

This treatment may be recommended if your dog has persistent anemia.

Both Kidney And Liver Failure Life Expectancy

Both kidney and liver play an important role in our body by performing various necessary functions. The liver helps the body to fight against diseases and infections. It is the organ which helps in digestion of food and for the regulation of blood sugar level as well. Kidneys also play a much important role in waste elimination. It is the organ which keeps the body out of waste and provides a safe and clean working environment to all other body organs. Both Kidney and Liver Failure Life Expectancy

Liver disease or failure gets support from the kidney disease. When there is a kidney disease, it affects the overall working of the liver as well. There are a number of people who are standing at the stage of kidney and liver failure. Without any treatment it will be hard for the patients to live more than a week. In general, both kidney and liver failure life expectancy is not more than 6 months.

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Will Kidney Failure Affect My Sex Life

Kidney failure will affect your emotions, nerves, hormones, and energy levels, all of which may change your sexual relationships. Taking good care of yourself by managing your kidney disease and controlling your blood pressure and blood glucose levels can help prevent some sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction. Getting counseling may help with some emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, which can get in the way of having satisfying sex.

You may feel shy asking questions about your sex life, but your health care team has heard the same questions from other people. Your provider is trained to help you address concerns about your sex life.

Renal Failure And Longevity

What is Kidney Failure?

There is no question that kidney disease can affect the lifespan. Putting a time frame on an individual case is much more complex. In acute failure, death may occur within a few days to a week without treatment. If the progress of CKD is rapid and the patient opts not to have treatment, life expectancy may be a few years at most. However, even people who have complete renal failure may live for years with proper care and regular dialysis treatments. A kidney transplant may also result in a longer survival period.

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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 bodys 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.

Blood And Urine Tests

If your doctor thinks you might have chronic kidney failure, they will order blood and urine tests.

Blood tests for kidney function measure the levels of electrolytes and waste in your blood. They measure waste products such as creatinine and blood urea. Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Blood urea is leftover when your body breaks down proteins. When your kidneys are working properly, they excrete both substances.

Urine tests will be performed to check for abnormalities. For example, protein is normally only present in trace amounts in your urine. An elevated protein level might indicate kidney problems months or even years before other symptoms appear. Your urine sediment and cells found in your urine will also be examined in a laboratory.

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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
  • Seizures
  • Coma

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.

What Are The Stages Of Kidney Failure

What happens if your kidneys fail?

Kidney failure has five stages that vary from mild to complete kidney failure . Doctors use serum creatinine, an organic compound of the blood that is a waste product from metabolism, to measure the kidney function as they filter it without problems. Besides, they calculate and use the Glomerular filtration rate , an index that shows how much blood does the kidneys filter in 1 minute.

This rate helps to establish the current kidney function according to age and weight. As it lowers, the stage will rise:

  • Stage 1: It is a stage with normal to highly functioning kidneys. Over 90% of the kidney is still working.
  • Stage 2: There is a mild decrease in kidney function, and the percent of kidney function goes from 89% to 60%
  • Stage 3A: Stage 3 divides in two, A and B. It has a mild to moderate decrease in kidney function with a percentage of kidney functionality that goes from 59% to 45%
  • Stage 3B: It has as well a mild to moderate decrease in kidney function. However, this is a more serious stage in which the percentage of kidney functionality goes from 44% to 30%
  • Stage 4: In this stage, there is a severe decrease in kidney function. The percentage of kidney functionality goes from 29% to 15%.
  • Stage 5: This is also known as an end-stage renal disease in which there is complete kidney failure, and the percentage of kidney functionality is less than 15%

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What Happens When The Liver And Kidneys Shut Down

When the kidneys shut down the body is unable to excrete waste and maintain its electrolyte imbalance, MedicineNet states. People who suffer from liver failure may experience bleeding disorders, excessive fluid on the brain, infections and an increased risk of kidney failure, according to Mayo Clinic.

When someone experiences liver failure excessive fluid in the brain causes pressure that can move brain tissue and deprive it of oxygen. Additionally, it is no longer able to offer the clotting factors that prevent blood from being too thin, resulting in bleeding disorders. One of the first places where this occurs is the gastrointestinal tract. It also makes people vulnerable to infections, and places extra pressure on the kidneys that results in them beginning to fail.

As the kidneys are responsible for excreting waste and maintaining an electrolyte imbalance, the patient may enter metabolic acidosis. The kidneys are no longer able to remove ketones from the blood, making it more acidic. Low sodium bicarbonate and high lactic acid levels have the same effect. As a result, the patient may develop ketone breath, which has a fruity scent. He or she may also become fatigued, lethargic, confused and drowsy. Eventually, his or her heart may begin to suffer, including arrhythmias such as tachycardia, edema and congestive heart failure.

How Is Kidney Failure Diagnosed

Doctors use a variety of tests to measure kidney function and diagnose kidney failure. If your doctors suspect you may be at risk for kidney failure, they may recommend:

  • Blood tests, which can show how well the kidneys are removing waste from the blood.
  • Advanced imaging, which can show kidney abnormalities or obstructions .
  • Urine tests, which measure the amount of urine or specific substances in the urine, such as protein or blood.

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When Do Most Cases Of Chronic Kidney Failure Occur

Since kidney tissue cannot regenerate if destroyed, the kidneys have a large amount of spare capacity to perform their various functions. At least 2/3 of the kidneys must be dysfunctional before any clinical signs are seen.

In many cases, this means that the destruction has been occurring for months to years before failure has become evident.

In dogs, chronic kidney failure is associated with aging, and in simple terms can be considered to be “wearing out” of the kidney tissues. The age of onset is often related to the size of the dog. For most small dogs, the early signs of kidney failure occur at about ten to fourteen years of age. However, large dogs have a shorter life span and may undergo kidney failure as early as seven years of age.

Does Kidney Failure Cause Pain

What Happens When Your Transplanted Kidney Fails?

Kidney failure in itself does not cause pain. However, the consequences of kidney failure may cause pain and discomfort in different parts of the body.

Amyloid proteins

Normal functioning kidneys filter amyloid from the blood stream. In kidney failure amyloid proteins in the blood rise, and can separate and clump together forming amyloid deposits into a variety of tissue and organs, including joints and tendons. This can result in symptoms of:

  • Patients who are on dialysis may have discomfort when on the dialysis machine.

Underlying chronic disease pain

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What Is Kidney Failure

Kidney failure means one or both kidneys can no longer function well on their own. Sometimes, kidney failure is temporary and comes on quickly. Other times, it is a chronic condition that can get worse slowly over a long time.

Kidney failure may sound serious, and it is. But treatments such as dialysis and kidney transplant help many people with limited kidney function continue to live fulfilling lives.

Kidney Failure Definition And Facts

  • Kidneys are the organs that filter waste products from the blood. They are also involved in regulating blood pressure, electrolyte balance, and red blood cell production in the body.
  • Symptoms of kidney failure are due to the build-up of waste products and excess fluid in the body that may cause weakness, shortness of breath, lethargy, swelling, and confusion. Inability to remove potassium from the bloodstream may lead to abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death. Initially kidney failure may cause no symptoms.
  • There are numerous causes of kidney failure, and treatment of the underlying disease may be the first step in correcting the kidney abnormality.
  • Some causes of kidney failure are treatable and the kidney function may return to normal. Unfortunately, kidney failure may be progressive in other situations and may be irreversible.
  • The diagnosis of kidney failure usually is made by blood tests measuring BUN, creatinine, and glomerular filtration rate .
  • Treatment of the underlying cause of kidney failure may return kidney function to normal. Lifelong efforts to control blood pressure and diabetes may be the best way to prevent chronic kidney disease and its progression to kidney failure. As we age, kidney function gradually decreases over time.
  • If the kidneys fail completely, the only treatment options available may be dialysis or transplant.

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What Is The Best Treatment For Me

You should consider many things when choosing a treatment for kidney failure, including your lifestyle, your age, any other health problems you may have, and whether you have a friend or relative to help you. Your decision should be based on more than your medical history and your doctor’s opinion. It should also be based on what you and your family wants. Learning about your treatment choices will help you decide which one is best for you.

How Is Chronic Kidney Disease Treated

What Happens If My Kidneys Fail Completely?

Early detection and treatment of the underlying causes of kidney disease may help prevent progression. When chronic kidney disease is diagnosed prior to developing into kidney failure or ESRD, some of the following modifications or treatments could help restore kidney function by addressing the underlying cause for kidney disease:

  • Medication to treat anemia or high blood pressure
  • Modification of current medications, such as NSAIDs

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