Uremic poisoning, or uremia, is observed when there is excess of urea and waste products circulating in the body. This article discusses its causes, symptoms, and ways to identify this condition as early as possible.
The human body has blood circulating and carrying all the required nutrients and oxygen in it. This is how each and every cell in the body gets its required amount of oxygen and nutrients. However, at times, there may be a condition where certain toxic components could be circulating in the blood, leading to multiple organ failure. This occurs when the kidneys, that are responsible for filtering out waste products, fail to function properly. In such cases, when there is a kidney failure, the blood starts accumulating toxins that don’t get filtered out, and this leads to one potential condition known as uremic poisoning. In this condition, there is mostly the circulation of urea and other waste products in the blood. One of the main causes is renal failure, but at times, even a chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis), dehydration, side effects of drugs, very high-protein diet, etc., may lead to this condition. Following are the details regarding uremia brought on by acute nephritis and other such kidney diseases:
One of the most common symptoms of this condition is loss of appetite. This makes the condition worse as it eventually leads to weight loss and even malnutrition, due to which the immune system becomes further compromised. Muscle wasting is also observed due to protein loss, and the person may experience nausea and vomiting. If the person has any inflammatory bowel disease, like ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, then the symptoms are often aggravated.
Nervous System Symptoms
Due to the lack of nutrients in the blood, the person tends to become sleepy and disoriented. It may become difficult to awaken the patient from his slumber, and his memory may become impaired as well. Sometimes, the patient may even develop peripheral neuropathy as one of the symptoms of uremia. Eventually, the person’s speech may be affected, and then he may go into coma.
The cardiovascular system is not spared of the uremia symptoms either. This condition could lead to inflammation of the heart muscles, which could eventually lead to chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, etc. A person may even develop symptoms of atherosclerosis, that is, hardening of arteries. Meanwhile, there may be a deficiency of blood cells, which could lead to anemia, and even in dire situations, pancytopenia.
As aforementioned, the patient may experience shortness of breath due to the palpitations and altered heart functioning. However, due to this impaired functioning of the heart, even the lungs may get filled with fluid, which could further make it difficult to breathe. There may also be pleurisy along with the pleural effusion.
Due to the spread of toxins in the body, the person may complain of severe itching. The skin may become red and inflamed. There may be imbalance in the chemical structure of bones due to impaired calcium absorption. This makes the parathyroid gland hyperactive due to which there is excess deposition of calcium in the bone, making the bones brittle. Similarly, due to the imbalance of hormones in the body, the blood-sugar levels may fluctuate to a great extent.
In most cases, the symptoms may be varied, and so, it may take a while before a diagnosis is established. However, if the poisoning has occurred and is spreading at a faster rate, then dialysis, or in severe cases, kidney transplant may be required. Hence, one should not ignore the signs of kidney failure because in many cases, irreversible organ damage is possible if timely treatment is not given.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.