What Is Renal Failure?
The adjective ‘renal’ refers to kidneys. Renal failure is a term used to describe any form of failure of the kidneys. These malfunctions should be taken very seriously because prolonged failure of the kidneys could turn into a potentially fatal condition. Kidney failure ranks among the top five medical reasons for death in the world today.
Why Are the Kidneys so Important?
The kidneys are parts of our excretory system. We have a pair of kidneys, which appear as bean shaped organs in our lower abdomen. The function of these kidneys is to filter the blood. Blood carries several unwanted materials such as undigested food products, byproducts of metabolism, discarded minerals, free radicals, and even certain toxic substances such as urea. These materials need to be removed from the blood and the body itself. The kidneys perform this function.
Day in and day out, as the blood passes through the kidneys, they do the vital job of removing these waste materials from the blood and sending them to the urinary bladder from where they are voided through the urethra in the form of urine. If this does not happen, then the toxic materials will stay back in the blood and this could be a potentially fatal condition.
As the kidneys work continuously, they are prone to wear and tear. They might begin to malfunction if the person does not lead a healthy lifestyle.
Two Types of Renal Failure
All forms of kidney failure are divided into two types.
- Acute renal failure — In this type, the kidney malfunctions for a certain period of time. With proper medication and care, and changes in the lifestyle, this damage can be reversed and the kidneys can work in a healthy manner once again.
- Chronic renal failure — This is permanent damage to the kidneys. When this happens, the person will not be able to void the excretory wastes in an effective manner, and it is thus a threat to health. Dialysis and kidney transplant could be options to take care of this condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Renal Failure?
The following are the symptoms of the two different kinds of renal failure.
- Symptoms of Acute Renal Failure
- The urine production is low. This is because the fluid is retained in the blood.
- There will be swelling of the lower limbs, including the feet and the ankles.
- The person will find it difficult to breathe.
- Drowsiness and fatigue might be experienced.
- The person might suffer from nausea and vomiting.
- The person might not be able to think clearly.
- Pain in the chest region along with tightness can be experienced.
- In severe cases, the person might go into a coma.
Symptoms of Chronic Renal Failure
Apart from the above mentioned symptoms for acute renal failure, the chronic condition shows the following symptoms:-
- The person may not be able to eat well.
- Sleep problems will crop up.
- Weakness is experienced in the body.
- There may be constant hiccups.
- Itching may be experienced all over the body.
- The muscles might begin to twitch and develop cramps.
- There might be high blood pressure and it could be difficult to regularize it.
A Few Things to Bear in Mind about Renal Failure
Renal failure is not something that can be taken lightly. In most cases it means that there is another serious health issue with the body. This could be indicative of a disease of the heart or the liver, both crucial organs that are needed for the wellbeing of the body.
Hospitalization can something cause kidney issues. If you have weak kidneys, make sure you let your doctors know about that, even when they are giving you prescription medicines. Sometimes, people get hospitalized for other health issues and come back with failing kidneys.
Both diabetes and high blood pressure can be the reason for your kidney failure. When you have diabetes, there is sugar retention in the blood. The kidneys have to work overtime to eliminate the waste products and maintain the proper fluid balance in the body. At the same time, in a person who has high blood pressure, the blood enters the kidney with higher force and this might damage the delicate units of the kidney known as nephrons.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about taking proper care of the kidneys.
Lifestyle Changes for People with Renal Failure
- One of the most important things you should do is to lower your intake of sodium and potassium salts. These salts harm your kidneys in several ways, including causing fluid retention in the kidneys. Foods that are recommended include green beans, strawberries, apples, and cabbage. Do not add excess salt in your foods.
- Drink a healthy amount of water. The more water you consume, the more you assist your kidneys in eliminating the waste products from the body, i.e. to perform their job more effectively. You must drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day.
- Keep fit. It is highly necessary to get rid of the excess fat in your body. Being overweight is an invitation to a host of diseases and kidney failure is no exception. You must add exercise to your daily regimen.
- Breathe clean air. Toxins are also added into the blood through the air you breathe. You must ensure participation in aerobic activities. Performing some breathing exercises will help as well.
- You must seriously limit your intake of alcohol. Alcohol is very difficult to eliminate from the bloodstream and it gets absorbed into it very easily. Alcohol puts tremendous pressure on the kidneys and it can exacerbate any kidney problems you already have.
There are also several health supplements available for maintaining good kidney health. Renal failure is not something that you can wish away in a day, but with proper lifestyle changes and care for your health, you could recover, and even make your kidneys as healthy as they were when you were younger.