The main aim of acute renal failure treatment is to restore normal functioning of the kidneys as soon as possible. This article highlights important aspects of treatment for acute renal failure.
The kidneys are one of the most vital organs of our body. Some important bodily functions that are carried out by the kidneys include excretion of unwanted waste products, elimination of extra fluid and maintaining electrolyte balance in the body. Acute renal failure is a condition where the working of the kidneys get disrupted all of a sudden. As a result, waste products, fluids and electrolyte get accumulated within the body. This is a harmful condition which if left untreated can be life-threatening.
Acute renal failure mainly occurs for three major reasons. When normal blood flow to the kidneys decreases, the kidneys fail to function normally. Heavy blood loss, heart disease, severe injuries, burns, bad infection, severe dehydration of the body are some of the factors that can adversely affect blood flow to the kidneys. If the kidneys get damaged by some diseases or infections, it fails to carry out normal functions. Besides, there are some antibiotic medicines, pain relieving medicines, hypertension medicines which when taken for a prolonged period of time may have a damaging effect on the kidneys. In case, the urine flow through the kidneys get obstructed, it results in acute renal failure. Those who have bladder cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, enlarged prostate gland, kidney stones tend to suffer from this disease which is triggered by urinary obstructions.
Some patients with acute renal failure may not have any signs and symptoms at all. Others may show one or more of the following symptoms:
- Low or no urine output
- Swollen legs and feet due to fluid retention
- Pain below the rib cage
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Anxiety and restlessness
The condition is treated by a kidney specialist or a nephrologist. When signs and symptoms suggest that the patient could be suffering from acute renal failure, a series of laboratory tests are conducted. It includes urine test, blood tests, imaging test, ultrasound, etc. If the test reports are positive, the patient needs to be hospitalized for the treatment. Doctors first try to find out the exact cause behind the problem. Then they try to treat that particular infection or injury so that normal functioning of the kidneys can be restored. If required, they also make efforts to improve blood flow to the kidneys.
On the other hand, some measures are also taken to ensure healing up of the damaged kidneys. Such measures largely depend upon the condition of the patient. If it is found that the patient is in dehydrated condition, then intravenous fluid is administered to replace the lost fluid and hydrate the body. Those patients who have high amount of accumulated fluid in the body are given diuretic medicines so that excess fluid can be eliminated. Such patients are also advised to limit the intake of liquid which should be in proportion to their urine output.
Some patients have too much of potassium in their blood which is bad for heart health. In this condition, blood potassium needs to be controlled with the help of suitable medicines. Calcium levels tend to go down in some patients and they need an infusion of calcium. Antibiotics are also prescribed to reduce the chances of any infection. Along with the medicines, proper renal failure diet is equally important in order to minimize toxin build up. A low protein diet with restricted use of salt and other electrolytes is often recommended for patients.
Some patients may have to undergo dialysis for removal of toxin build up in the body. In dialysis, the blood is pumped out of the body with the help of a machine that accesses the blood vessels and is then passed through an artificial kidney or dialyzer in order to filter out the waste products and excess potassium. After this procedure, the filtered blood is returned to the body. Doctors opt for dialysis when the patient does not respond well to other methods of treatment and there is a large amount of accumulated waste in the body.
With proper acute renal failure treatment, these patients recuperate in a matter of few weeks provided they do not have any other major health problems. Once they are cured, they can lead a normal life. However, elderly people and those patients who have chronic health problems or the kidneys have suffered a permanent damage may not be able to recover completely. They have to continue with medicines to maintain kidney function or have to undergo dialysis from time to time.