Kidney failure has many different names such as chronic renal failure, chronic renal disease or chronic kidney disease. It is the slow progression of the loss of function of your kidneys over a certain period of time. It may progress for several years or happen sooner but the end result with be permanent kidney failure. Surprisingly kidney failure is actually more common than you would think. That’s the case because kidney disease more often will just go undetected and undiagnosed far beyond the point of no return. When this happens it is inevitable that your kidneys will shut down.
Once the kidney fails and stops working, you end up with dangerous amounts of waste in your body that begin to build up. The whole point of treatment is to try to stop or slow down the progression of kidney disease. You do this by controlling the cause of the disease.
If it progresses too long to the point of failure, then a transplant or dialysis will be the only option available.
Risk Factors of Chronic Kidney Failure
Risk factors are what either increases your risk of developing the disease or developing a more serious condition. If you are obese you also have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
The following conditions or situations are linked to a higher risk of developing kidney failure:
- A family history of kidney disease
- Age – chronic kidney disease is much more common among people over 60 years of age
- Bladder obstruction
- Congenital kidney disease (kidney disease which is present at birth)
- Diabetes – the most common risk factor in Europe, Japan, North America, and probably most other parts of the world.
- Hypertension high blood pressure
- Overexposure to some toxins
- Sickle cell disease
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Failure
A sign is something someone else notices about someone whereas a symptom is something you feel yourself.
Kidney failure is a slow progression from the disease so it can be hard to detect right away. Unfortunately it can be hard to detect before the disease becomes more advanced. In fact it can progress to the point where the damage can be irreversible.
The most common signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease include:
- Blood in urine
- Dark urine
- Decreased mental alertness
- Decreased urine output
- Edema – swollen feet, hands and ankles
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Itchy skin, can become persistent
- Loss of appetite
- Male inability to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- More frequent urination, especially at night
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle twitches
- Pain on the side or mid to lower back
- Panting (shortness of breath)
- Protein in urine
- Sudden change in bodyweight
- Unexplained headaches