Kidney failure is a medical emergency, even when symptoms are not present. Symptoms will vary depending on the type of kidney problem that is present. There are four main types of kidney problems: ureteric sepsis, renal tubular acidosis, hyperoxaluria, and chronic pyelonephritis. The main goal in treating kidney disease is to relieve symptoms and prevent further damage. If detected early enough, kidney disease can be reversed with a combination of medications and dialysis.
The most common causes of kidney failure in the United States are high blood pressure and diabetes. In some cases, though, kidney failure may occur rapidly due to an unexpected cause. When kidneys lose function rapidly (within days or hours) it is known as acute renal failure (or emergency kidney failure).
The majority of people who develop symptoms of kidney failure have had some kind of previous experience of kidney disease. Certain groups are at higher risk for developing renal failure than others. People who have diabetes are more likely to develop kidney disease than people who don’t have diabetes. And people who drink alcohol are at a greater risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) than those who do not drink alcohol.
Most people with kidney failure experience some symptoms. These symptoms include lethargy, muscle fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. To find out if these symptoms are due to kidney failure, blood tests may be performed. Blood tests can determine the levels of calcium, albumin, and protein in the urine. Urine samples are tested for albumin, calcium, and ketones (glucose, cholesterol, and urine). blood urine tests also can indicate if electrolyte (sodium, potassium, and carbonate) levels are low.
Other symptoms of kidney failure include muscle cramps and breathlessness. Patients with chronic kidney disease may also experience unexplained weight loss, frequent diarrhea, constipation, and bad breath. Shortness of breath while lying flat or while walking makes this symptom particularly worrisome. The kidneys sometimes fail to filter out solids, resulting in a dry, hardy residue called calculi which can collect in the lungs and cause chronic breathing problems.
Symptoms of kidney failure that occur in people with polycystic kidney disease usually appear suddenly. Often, however, the symptoms don’t become apparent for several days or weeks. Some patients may have their kidneys tested for various conditions, such as proteinuria, polyps, and infectious diseases. Because the kidneys are so important, people with polycystic kidney disease should take their health into their own hands and seek medical care when they notice any of the warning signs listed above. If caught in time, then the majority of kidney problems will not need medical treatment.
However, if your kidneys are failing even with regular home treatments, then you may be forced to receive an emergency surgical procedure to replace your kidneys. Your body won’t be able to support your kidney tissue due to the advanced stages of kidney failure. If you do undergo a kidney transplant, then you’ll be on dialysis for the rest of your life. This means that you’ll need to drink a special solution that will help cleanse your urinary system from urine. If you can’t drink enough water or you don’t drink enough to produce urine, then the only way your doctors will know you have kidney failure is by testing your blood pressure and doing a urine test.
There are certain medications used to treat polycystic kidney disease that can cause a rise in blood pressure and result in kidney damage if taken during a period when you’re having kidney failure symptoms. People who take prednisone or other immune suppressant drugs are at greater risk for developing this condition. To avoid this type of kidney damage, people should talk to their doctors about alternative treatments, such as herbs and other supplements. Herbs such as kelp can prevent urinary tract infections. Eating foods high in antioxidants can also reduce the damage done to your kidneys by free radicals. Combining different types of natural treatments can help you avoid having to resort to surgery.