Everything You Need to Know About Acute Renal Failure

Everything You Need to Know About Acute Renal Failure

Also known as Acute kidney injury (AKI). It is defined as a sudden and severe loss of kidney function that occurs within seven days and requires hospitalization. 

For some people, the condition resolves itself without further treatment while for others it may turn into chronic kidney disease (CKD). If you are diagnosed with Acute renal failure, it becomes important to understand the conditions and receive adequate treatment from your doctor to avoid future complications.

In this article, we have covered everything about acute kidney failure and its treatment.

Symptoms of Acute Renal Failure

In the early stages of acute renal failure or acute Kidney failure, patients may only show symptoms of mild discomfort. They generally occur due to not having enough fluids in their system and high potassium levels.

If left untreated, for a long they may develop severe consequences such as:

  • Increased risk for heart attack and stroke
  • High phosphate levels – Which can severely damage bone tissue, and
  • Higher white blood cell count – It can lead to a weakened immune system or impaired cardiovascular function.

Moreover, Patients with sepsis are at an even greater risk since a fever will increase metabolic demands on their kidneys.

Once these significant outcomes occur they are unlikely to reverse without specific treatment interventions.

  1. Symptoms of acute renal failure can include some or all of the following: severe pain in the back, nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, abnormal heartbeat, extreme fatigue, and decreased urination.
  2. The most prominent symptom is severe pain in the back that radiates to the lower part of the body
  3. This pain is often alleviated by lying down or moving position.
  4. Other symptoms are typically nausea and vomiting as well as muscle cramps. Patients may also have an irregular heartbeat, extreme fatigue, and decreased urination.

Causes of Acute Renal Failure

For many people, acute kidney failure is a result of long-term chronic kidney disease. Causes may also include problems with blood flow to the kidneys, such as angina or clots in the legs that stop blood flow and/or bleeding into the kidneys.

The most common cause of acute renal failure is probably acute glomerulonephritis, which is an inflammation of tiny filters inside your kidneys called glomeruli. 

Other causes can be from overuse of diuretics (a medication that reduces swelling by making you pee more), which depletes water and electrolytes from your body this dehydration then affects how well your heart can work.

Problems With Blood Flow To The Kidneys

  1. Normally, blood circulates through the kidneys and gets filtered for toxins. If there is a problem with blood flow or if your kidney function drops suddenly, your body can’t get rid of all the excess fluid. The fluid backs up into the bloodstream and causes extra pressure in the lungs.
  2. That pressure, combined with low oxygen levels in the blood and anemia (low levels of healthy red blood cells), increases your risk for heart failure or other life-threatening complications.
  3. Some people are more likely to develop this condition, such as those with diabetes who experience low blood sugar or certain types of cancers that affect the kidneys.

Acute Glomerulonephritis

  1. Acute Glomerulonephritis is a condition that damages the glomeruli of the kidney which causes blood and proteins to leak out of the blood vessels and get into the urine.
  2. The leakage, with a lack of blood and proteins, will eventually cause kidney failure which can lead to death.
  3. Numerous factors contribute to acute glomerulonephritis: Lupus erythematosus; sarcoidosis; arteriovenous malformation (AVM); hypertension; traumatic injury.
  4. Acute Glomerulonephritis is characterized by proteinuria, impaired renal function, and edema in combination with increased sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein level, or both.

Overuse of diuretics

  1. Diuretics cause acute renal failure because they can remove water and salt too quickly from the body.
  2. The kidneys cannot cope with this and make less urine, which leads to a dangerous accumulation of water in the body.

3.       These symptoms of acute renal failure include weakness, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and weight loss.

4.       If you experience any of these symptoms after taking diuretics, then you must consult your doctor as soon as possible.

5.       Treatment for acute kidney failure may include dialysis or a kidney transplant. Thankfully most cases are reversible with minimal lasting effects; however if untreated it can lead to death.

Risk Factors of Acute Renal Failure

Kidney failure can happen as a result of infection, diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. The condition occurs when the kidneys are unable to filter out waste products from the body. 

If your kidney was damaged then some functions impaired not all. Several factors can increase the risk of renal failure including diabetes and high blood pressure.

Multiple factors may increase your risk of acute renal failure, including:

a.       Advanced age

b.      Lack of fluid intake

c.       Excessive sweating (known as heat stroke)

d.      Poor diet and nutrition

Complications of Acute Renal Failure

A hospital stay due to acute kidney failure can cause some pretty serious complications such as blood clots, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and metabolic acidosis.

Acidosis means that your body is acidifying quickly and it starts to break down the proteins in your muscles and organs.

Blood clots can happen if the movement of blood becomes restricted by any type of injury or disease which can cause you breathing difficulties or even cardiac arrest.

Respiratory distress syndrome is a state where the airways become constricted which causes difficulty breathing or a feeling of suffocation.

The development of metabolic acidosis also reduces the ability of body cells to exchange oxygen because it triggers a release of potassium from bone marrow which causes electrolyte disturbances in body fluids.

  1. The most common complication is fluid overload, which can cause swelling and shortness of breath.
  2. The risk of chronic kidney disease is also high, so it’s very important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid salt as much as possible.
  3. Certain drugs that may be prescribed for other conditions could lead to acute renal failures, such as statins and NSAIDs.
  4. Diabetes can also lead to chronic kidney disease, so it’s a good idea for people with diabetes who have one or more of the other risk factors for chronic kidney diseases- such as obesity, high blood pressure or a family history-to start dialysis if their kidneys are not working well after 30 years old.

Preventions for Acute Renal Failure

  1. Oftentimes, acute kidney failure is caused by an obstruction in the urinary tract, acute illness, or severe injury. The kidneys are sensitive organs, and people with chronic health conditions need to take care of them.
  2. To maintain a healthy lifestyle consume a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables.
  3. If you are at risk for this condition you should make sure to avoid NSAIDs.
  4. In addition, these individuals should limit their intake of excessive protein since it can affect their kidneys by slowing down their function.


Acute renal failure is a sudden loss of kidney function, usually due to an injury or disease. Left untreated, acute kidney failure can lead to serious complications. This post will cover the causes and symptoms of acute renal failure, as well as methods for prevention and treatment.

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