According to various studies, the most numerous group of patients diagnosed with renal failure are people over 60 years of age. It is a disease that can be acute or chronic, and if left untreated, it can lead to very dangerous complications and even death.

From the text you will learn:

  • what are the causes of kidney failure,
  • what are the symptoms of kidney failure
  • how is kidney failure treated?
  • is it worth using any particular diet during the treatment.

Kidney failure is a disease involving damage to nephrons, i.e. the basic building blocks of the kidneys, responsible for their proper functioning. In clinical practice, acute renal failure is distinguished , which develops very quickly and has a rapid, sudden course, as well as chronic renal failure , i.e. one that develops slowly and persists for more than three months despite treatment. In the course of renal failure, the number of properly functioning nephrons and kidney fibrosis decrease over time.

Kidney failure is usually diagnosed by urine tests (such as hematuria or proteinuria), imaging tests (such as ultrasound for cysts), and specialist tests that show a reduction in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) to less than 60 ml per minute.

Kidney failure – causes

The causes of kidney failure can be different, depending on whether the disease is acute or chronic. Thus, the causes of acute renal failure include:

  • damage to the renal parenchyma (e.g. as a result of alcohol poisoning),
  • decreased blood flow through the kidneys (e.g. due to dehydration or shock)
  • obstructed outflow of urine from the kidneys (e.g. due to an undesirable effect of drugs).

In turn, chronic renal failure is most often the result of complications:

  • diabetes (so-called diabetic nephropathy),
  • arterial hypertension (the so-called hypertensive nephropathy),
  • atherosclerosis (the so-called atherosclerotic nephropathy),
  • glomerulonephritis.

Chronic renal failure is less often caused by pyelonephritis, nephrolithiasis and polycystic kidney disease.

Kidney failure – symptoms

The symptoms of kidney failure can vary depending on which type of condition you are dealing with and what causes it . The most common ones include:

  • presence of proteinuria and / or hematuria,
  • high blood pressure,
  • the presence of albumin in the urine (in the case of renal failure which is a complication of diabetes or high blood pressure),
  • swelling of the feet, hands and face
  • deterioration of heart function (shortness of breath, shortness of breath),
  • anemia (caused by too little erythropoietin production),
  • acidosis (caused by impairment of acid excretion).

Kidney failure – treatment

Treatment of kidney failure is an absolute necessity – otherwise, the body may be seriously poisoned or even killed. If renal failure is a complication of other diseases, e.g. diabetes or high blood pressure, treatment of the underlying disease is of course necessary, which inhibits further damage to the kidneys. Various types of drugs are also used to reduce proteinuria and protect the structures of the kidneys. It may also be necessary to modify the taken pharmacological agents that may have a negative effect on the functioning of the kidneys.

If glomerular filtration is reduced to 20-30 ml per minute, it is advisable to start a renal replacement therapy, i.e. regular dialysis. If possible, patients – especially young patients – undergo kidney transplantation. A successful transplant gives you a chance to live a normal life.

Diet in renal failure

A very important element in the treatment of renal failure , especially of a chronic nature, is the use of an appropriate diet. The content of protein, sodium, phosphorus and potassium should be monitored in the daily diet. Of course, both minerals and protein in the diet are essential, but in people with renal insufficiency, their amount must be limited and adjusted to the degree of renal impairment. This is because, for example, as a result of protein metabolism, creatinine and urea are formed, which failing kidneys are unable to remove, as well as excess phosphorus or potassium, which leads to further abnormalities and complications. Therefore, people with kidney failure in many cases they have to modify their diet, assisted by a doctor or dietitian.