Kidney failure is a condition in which one or both kidneys stop working on their own. Its causes are diabetes, high blood pressure, and acute kidney injury. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, bloating, frequent trips to the bathroom, and brain fog. Treatment includes dialysis or a kidney transplant.
What is kidney failure?
Kidney failure (kidney failure) means that one or both of your kidneys stop working on their own. Kidney failure is sometimes temporary and develops quickly (acute). In other cases, it is a long-lasting chronic (long-term) disease.
Kidney failure is the most severe stage of kidney disease. If left untreated, it can lead to death. If you have kidney failure, you may live for days or weeks without treatment.
What do the kidneys do?
Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of your fist. They sit under your ribs and towards your back. Most people have two kidneys, but you can live well with just one functioning kidney.
The kidney has several functions. One of its most important jobs is to help eliminate toxins from your body. Your kidneys filter your blood and remove waste products from your body through urine.
When your kidneys aren’t working properly, waste products build up in your body. If this happens, you will get sick and die without treatment. Many people can overcome kidney failure with the right treatment.
Who does kidney failure affect?
Kidney failure can happen to anyone. However, you may be at higher risk of kidney failure if you:
High blood pressure (high blood pressure).
Having heart disease.
Have a family history of kidney disease.
Abnormal kidney structure.
Black, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native or First Nation.
Over 60 years old.
Experience with over-the-counter pain relievers, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
How common is kidney failure?
More than 750,000 people in the United States develop kidney failure each year. It affects about 2 million people worldwide.
What happens when kidney failure starts?
There are stages of kidney disease based on your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).
Your eGFR is an estimate of how well your kidneys are filtering substances. A normal eGFR is around 100. The lowest eGFR is 0, which means no kidney function remains.
The stages of any kidney disease are:
Stage I. Your GFR is above 90 but below 100. At this stage, your kidneys are still functioning normally, although they have minor damage.
Stage II. Your GFR can be as low as 60 or as high as 89. Your kidneys are more damaged than in stage I, but they still work well.
Stage III. Your GFR can be as low as 30 or as high as 59. Kidney function may be mild or severe.
Stage IV. Your GFR can be as low as 15 or as high as 29. Your kidney function is severely impaired.
Stage V. Your GFR is below 15. Your kidneys are near or complete failure.
Symptoms and causes
What are the first warning signs of kidney failure?
In the early stages of kidney disease, many people have few or no symptoms. However, chronic kidney disease (CKD) can cause damage even when you feel well.
Symptoms of CKD and kidney failure vary from person to person. If your kidneys are not working properly, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Extreme fatigue (fatigue).
Nausea and vomiting.
Confusion or trouble concentrating.
Swelling (edema), especially around the hands, ankles or face.
Urinate more often.
Cramps (muscle spasms).
Dry or itchy skin.
Appetite may be poor or food may have a metallic taste.
What is the most common cause of kidney failure?
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.
Uncontrolled diabetes results in high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Constantly high blood sugar levels can damage your kidneys and other organs.
High blood pressure means that blood is pumping through your body’s veins. Over time, if left untreated, the extra power can damage kidney tissue.
Kidney failure usually does not happen quickly. Other causes of CKD that can lead to kidney failure include:
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD). PKD is inherited from one of your parents (a genetic disorder) and causes fluid-filled sacs (cysts) to grow inside the kidneys.
Glomerular disease. Glomerular disease affects how well your kidneys filter waste.
Lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes organ damage, joint pain, fever, and skin rashes.
Kidney failure can develop quickly for unexpected reasons. Acute kidney failure (acute kidney injury) is when your kidneys suddenly stop working. B
affected systemic diseases, such as heart disease or liver disease.
Is kidney failure contagious?
No, kidney failure is not contagious. You also can’t spread conditions that cause CKD to another person.