Q&A: What Are The Signs Of Kidney Failure?
- Heart disease
- Liver failure
- Use of aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen (Aleve, others), or related drugs
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Severe burns
- Severe dehydration
Direct Kidney Damage
These diseases, conditions and agents may damage the kidneys and lead to acute kidney failure:
- Blood clots in the veins and arteries in and around the kidneys
- Cholesterol deposits that block blood flow in the kidneys
- Glomerulonephritis (gloe-mer-u-loe-nuh-FRY-tis), inflammation of the tiny filters in the kidneys (glomeruli)
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that results from premature destruction of red blood cells
- Lupus, an immune system disorder causing glomerulonephritis
- Medications, such as certain chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, dyes used during imaging tests and zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa), used to treat osteoporosis and high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia)
- Multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells
- Scleroderma, a group of rare diseases affecting the skin and connective tissues
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a rare blood disorder
- Toxins, such as alcohol, heavy metals and cocaine
- Vasculitis, an inflammation of blood vessels
Diseases and conditions that block the passage of urine out of the body (urinary obstructions) and can lead to acute kidney failure include:
- Bladder cancer
- Blood clots in the urinary tract
- Cervical cancer
- Colon cancer
- Enlarged prostate
- Kidney stones
- Nerve damage involving the nerves that control the bladder
- Prostate cancer
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Unfortunately, kidney failure may be progressive in many situations and may be irreversible. The diagnosis of kidney failure usually is made by blood tests measuring BUN, creatinine, and glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
Treatment of the underlying cause of kidney failure may return kidney function to normal. Lifelong efforts to control blood pressure and diabetes may be the best way to prevent chronic kidney disease and its progression to kidney failure. As we age kidney function gradually decreases over time.
If the kidneys fail completely, the only treatment options available may be dialysis or transplant.
Reviewed by: Dr. Melvin Gaskins