RENAL failure or kidney failure is a situation where the kidneys fail to function adequately. Dr. Ssekasanvu explains that the disease presents in two forms â€” acute and chronic.
â€œAcute renal failure is the sudden loss of kidney function. It occurs when the kidneys abruptly stop working.
When this happens, waste products, fluids and other substances build up in the body,â€ says Dr. Ssekasanvu.
Acute renal failure is caused by a sudden, serious drop in blood flow to the kidneys.
â€œHeavy blood loss, injury or infection can reduce blood flow to the kidneys. Insufficient fluid in the body (dehydration) can also harm the kidneys.â€ Says Dr. Ssekasanvu.
He also points out that some medicines can harm the kidneys. These include antibiotics, pain killers such as aspirin, indocid and brufen.
Webmed.com, a medical resource website, also indicates kidney stones, a tumour, injury, or an enlarged prostate gland as possible causes of blockage that stops urine from flowing out of the kidneys.
Acute renal failure presents the following symptoms:Reduced urine flow
Passing of concentrated (tea-coloured) and foamy urine
Swelling, especially in the face, legs and feet
Nausea and vomiting.
Chronic renal failure, on the other hand, is the progressive deterioration of renal function. â€œIt develops over a period of time.
The most common causes of chronic renal failure are diseases or illnesses that damage the kidneys gradually over many years.
These include high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, polycystic kidney disease, obstructions of the urinary tract and diseases of the heart or lungs.
â€œUsing painkilling medications for a long time may also damage the kidneys and cause chronic renal failure,â€ says Dr. Ssekasanvu.
Since chronic renal failure progresses gradually, symptoms may be so mild that the patient does not recognise that he has a serious health problem.
At first, symptoms include frequent urinating, especially at night. The urine is dilute, which means it has a high water content, making it appear pale.
As the kidneys fail, waste products and fluids build up in the bloodstream. The excess fluid causes swelling (edema), usually in the hands, feet, face, and abdomen.
The extra fluid also causes the blood pressure to rise. Other symptoms may include: nausea, fatigue, confusion, foul-smelling breath, joint pain, reduced urination, blood in the urine, seizures, headaches, itching, pain in the kidney area and a yellowish-brown appearance to the skin.
Chronic renal failure can lead to coma and death.
Dr. Ssekasanvu says Auma suffers from chronic renal failure. Kidney failure, he says, affects people of different ages; however, individuals with high blood pressure and diabetes are at risk.
â€œAmong adults aged 40 years and above, kidney failure may be caused by diabetes and pressure. It can also be caused by infections, especially among the youth,â€ he says.
Facts about renal failure