Your kidneys are pair of organs located toward your lower back. One kidney is on each side of your spine. They filter your blood and remove toxins from your body. Your kidneys send toxins to your bladder. Your body later removes toxins during urination.
What causes kidney failure?
In most cases, kidney failure is caused by other health problems that have done permanent damage (harm) to your kidneys little by little, over time.
When your kidneys are damaged, they may not work as well as they should. If the damage to your kidneys continues to get worse and your kidneys are less and less able to do their job, you have chronic kidney disease. Kidney failure is the last (most severe) stage of chronic kidney disease. This is why kidney failure is also called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD for short.
Diabetes is the most common cause of ESRD. High blood pressure is the second most common cause of ESRD. Other problems that can cause kidney failure include:
Sometimes the kidneys can stop working very suddenly (within two days). This type of kidney failure is called acute kidney injury or acute renal failure. Common causes of acute renal failure include:
- Heart attack
- Illegal drug use and drug abuse
- Not enough blood flowing to the kidneys
- Urinary tract problems
This type of kidney failure is not always permanent. Your kidneys may go back to normal or almost normal with treatment and if you do not have other serious health problems.
Having one of the health problems that can lead to kidney failure does not mean that you will definitely have kidney failure. Living a healthy lifestyle and working with your doctor to control these health problems can help your kidneys work for as long as possible.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) usually gets worse slowly, and symptoms may not appear until your kidneys are badly damaged. In the late stages of CKD, as you are nearing kidney failure (ESRD), you may notice symptoms that are caused by waste and extra fluid building up in your body.
You may notice one or more of the following symptoms if your kidneys are beginning to fail:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Not feeling hungry
- Swelling in your feet and ankles
- Too much urine (pee) or not enough urine
- Trouble catching your breath
- Trouble sleeping
If your kidneys stop working suddenly (acute kidney failure), you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal (belly) pain
- Back pain
Having one or more of any of the symptoms above may be a sign of serious kidney problems. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away.
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Kidney failure occurs when your kidneys lose the ability to filter waste from your blood sufficiently. Many factors can interfere with your kidney health and function, such as:
Your body becomes overloaded with toxins if your kidneys can’t do their regular job. This can lead to kidney failure and even be life-threatening if it’s left untreated.
What Causes Kidney Failure?People who are most at risk for kidney failure usually suffer from one or more of the following causes:
Loss of Blood Flow to the Kidneys
A sudden loss of blood flow to your kidneys can prompt kidney failure. Some diseases and conditions that cause loss of blood flow to the kidneys include:
Blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also limit blood flow.
Urine Elimination Problems
When your body can’t eliminate urine, toxins build up and overload the kidneys. Some cancers can block the urine passageways. These include prostate (most common type in men), colon, cervical, and bladder cancers. Other conditions can interfere with urination and possibly lead to kidney failure, including:
Some diseases and conditions may lead to kidney failure, including: