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What is kidney failure?

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd November 2005 03:00 AM

Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located at the back of the upper abdomen, one on either side of the spine.

Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located at the back of the upper abdomen, one on either side of the spine.

By Herbert Mugarura Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located at the back of the upper abdomen, one on either side of the spine. They eliminate excess fluid, salt, water and waste materials from blood. When kidneys fail, dangerous levels of fluid and waste accumulate in the body. Kidney failure may occur after complicated surgery or a severe injury, or when blood vessels leading to the kidneys become blocked. It may also develop slowly, with few signs and symptoms. It may even go unnoticed. Causes Mainly inadequate blood flow in the kidneys or infection and effects of drug reactions, toxins, accumulation of salts in the kidneys and other metabolic disorders.
Obstruction results in kidney swelling and inflammation.

Chronic kidney failure that develops gradually is usually attributed to high blood pressure and diabetes.

If your family has a history of any kind of kidney problems, you may be at risk for kidney disease and should talk to your doctor.
Symptoms Passing pus and some blood in urine (hematuria). Also passing urine at night more often than usual. They may also develop coarse muscular twitches, muscle cramps and convulsions, lassitude and decreased mental activity.

Other are loss of appetite, vomiting, small wounds on the edges of the mouth and bitter mouth taste. Some patients develop yellow-brown skin discolouration with itchy skin rashes.

With time there is swelling of the face, legs and other parts of the body, congested chest and difficulty in breathing.

Kidney failure may cause other ailments like stomach and intestinal ulcers, malnutrition, malaria or typhoid, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and fluid retention in lungs (pulmonary edema).

Death is usually due to underlying disease and not solely due to absence of a properly functioning kidney.
Prevention
Get regular check ups especially when you are above 40 or have a history of urinary tract diseases and infections. Always have prompt proper treatment for any sign of urinary tract disease condition.

Avoid abuse and use of alcohol, drugs (including over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen). Avoid long-term exposure to heavy metals, such as lead, solvents, fuels and other toxic substances.
Treatment
With the use of antibiotics and careful control of salt and water intake and effective dialysis, the mortality rate can be reduced from 90% to 50 %.

Acute kidney failure can be prevented by proper maintenance of normal fluid balance, blood volume and blood pressure.

Despite treatment the outcome will depend on the underlying diseases and superimposed complications. For example, complications may cause irreversible damage with therapy. Dialysis and organ transplant are the final solutions. The writer is a medical doctor
Ends

What is kidney failure?

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