Healthy kidneys function to remove extra water and waste, help control blood pressure, keep body chemicals in balance, keep bones strong, tell your body to make red blood cells and help children grow normally. CKD occurs when kidneys are no longer able to clean toxins and waste product from the blood and perform their functions to full capacity. This can happen all of a sudden or over time.
"Renal" means related to the kidneys. "Acute" means sudden. So acute renal failure means the kidneys have failed suddenly, often due to a toxin (a drug allergy or poison) or severe blood loss or trauma. Dialysis is used to clean the blood and give the kidneys a rest. If the cause is treated, the kidneys may be able to recover some or all of their function.
Knowing the symptoms of kidney disease can help you detect it early enough to get treatment. Symptoms can include the following:
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about your concerns. This is especially important if you have a close family member who has kidney disease, or if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, which are the main causes of kidney failure.
Kidney disease can be found through lab tests or by symptoms. High blood levels of creatinine and urea or high levels of protein in your urine suggest kidney disease. Diabetics should have a yearly urine test for microalbumin, small amounts of protein that don't show up on standard urine protein test.
After you have basic screening tests done, if you have signs of kidney disease, you should ask for a referral to a nephrologist, a specialist in treating kidney disease. A nephrologist will perform an evaluation then suggest medications or lifestyle changes to help slow the progression of kidney disease.
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