Table of Contents
- Kidney failure facts
- What are the kidneys?
- What are the kidneys? (Continued)
- What causes kidney failure?
- What causes kidney failure? (Continued)
- What are the signs and symptoms of kidney failure?
- Does kidney failure cause pain?
- How is kidney failure diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for kidney failure?
- Dialysis and Hemodialysis
- Peritoneal dialysis
- Kidney transplantation
- What is the prognosis for someone with kidney failure?
What causes kidney failure?
Kidney failure may occur from an acute situation that injures the kidneys or from chronic diseases that gradually cause the kidneys to stop functioning.
In acute renal failure, kidney function is lost rapidly and can occur from a variety of insults to the body. Since most people have two kidneys, both kidneys must be damaged for complete kidney failure to occur. Fortunately, if only one kidney fails or is diseased it can be removed, and the remaining kidney may continue to have normal kidney (renal) function. If a both patient's kidneys are injured or diseased, a donor kidney(s) may transplanted.
The list of causes of kidney failure is often categorized based on where the injury has occurred.
Prerenal causes (pre=before + renal=kidney) causes are due to decreased blood supply to the kidney. Examples of prerenal causes of kidney failure are:
- Hypovolemia (low blood volume) due to blood loss
- Dehydration from loss of body fluid (for example, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, fever)
- Poor intake of fluids
- Medication, for example, diuretics ("water pills") may cause excessive water loss
- Abnormal blood flow to and from the kidney due to obstruction of the renal artery or vein.
Longo DL, et al. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th edition. McGraw Hill Professional. 2011.
Medscape. Renal Failure, Acute.
NIH. Amyloidosis and Kidney Disease. IMAGES:
13.National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH)