What Causes Kidney Failure?
Acute renal failure most often occurs as a result of damage of some kind, whether it is from injury or exposure to certain substances. Sometimes kidney failure is caused by an abrupt, severe lack of blood flow to the kidneys. When a person is seriously injured and loses a lot of blood or has a bloodstream infection, known as sepsis, they could develop kidney failure.
Certain medications taken over the long term can lead to kidney failure, especially when the person has other health problems. Medicines that can lead to kidney failure include:
- Certain antibiotics
- Some over-the-counter pain medicines
- Some blood pressure medicines
- Certain prescription medicines
- X-Ray dye
When urine flow becomes blocked and cannot flow properly, kidney failure can occur. Common blockages are tumors, kidney stones, and enlarged prostates, as well as, swelling or damage from an injury.
The Stages of Kidney Disease
Most of the time kidney failure doesn’t happen suddenly. It takes years to get to the end stages in most patients and is treatable in early stages when caught. Each stage presents differently with varying symptoms.
Stages 1 and 2-Most people at Stages 1 and 2 don’t have any symptoms because kidneys function well even when they’re not working at 100 percent. Most often kidney disease is caught at these stages when tests for other illnesses or disorders are ran. The only difference between the progressions of the disease at these stages is the amount of certain proteins and minerals found in the urine.
Stage 3-in this stage waste products begin to increase in the blood stream and symptoms present. Symptoms at stage 3 include fatigue, anemia, fluid buildup in the hands, face, and lower legs, foamy or dark colored urine, back pain, and sleep issues.
Stage 4-at this stage the lack of blood filtration is dangerous enough to warrant dialysis or kidney transplant. Persons suffering with stage 4 kidney failure will have most or all the symptoms of stage 3 and additionally, shortness of breath from excessive fluid buildup, nausea and vomiting, appetite loss, trouble focusing, and numbness or “pins and needles” in the toes and fingers.
Stage 5-at this stage dialysis or transplant is necessary for survival because the kidneys aren’t filtering much, if anything at all. People at this stage are generally very ill and don’t feel up to doing anything. The symptoms from stages 3 and 4 combine with new symptoms including headaches, itchiness, inability to urinate or producing very little urine, and skin color changes.
Common Treatment: Dialysis
The two types of dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are very different from one another, but achieve the same result: filtering the toxins from the bloodstream. During hemodialysis blood is removed from the body and ran though a dialyzer, or artificial kidney, to be cleaned. Blood is then returned back into the body.
During peritoneal dialysis a solution of chemicals and drugs are pumped into the peritoneum, a two-layered serous membrane that lines the abdomen and covers the organs. The solution sits for a time while the membrane filters toxins, then its removed. This cycle is repeated several times.
Kidney failure is a manageable condition that’s best discussed often with a qualified physician.
Joshua P. Myers is a partner at Schultz and Myers Personal Injury Law, LLC. There are times when defective drugs or devices cause injury to dialysis patients. Myers’ law firm exclusively represents injured individuals to maximize compensation against the drug companies and injury cases. Located throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas, Schultz and Myers law firm represents clients throughout the Midwest. Contact the office toll-free at 888-956-2487.
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