What is kidney failure?
When one or both kidneys can no longer function on their own, it indicates a possible case of kidney failure. Kidney failure may be temporary in some cases. In other cases, it is a chronic condition that can only get worse over time.
Kidney failure is a serious medical condition. However, treatments like dialysis and kidney transplant can assist many people facing kidney issues survive.
What causes kidney failure?
The most common causes of kidney failure consist of diabetes and high blood pressure. In a few cases, kidney failure is sudden due to an unforeseen cause.
The sudden stage of kidney failure is called acute kidney failure. It is often temporary. It can be caused by-
- Autoimmune kidney diseases
- Severe dehydration
- A urinary tract obstruction
- A heart or liver disease
- Certain medications
In most cases, kidney failure does not happen overnight. The type of kidney disease wherein a group of health conditions affect how well a person’s kidneys function over time is known as Chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease can even lead to kidney failure if left untreated.
The major causes of kidney failure from chronic kidney disease are-
- Diabetes: Unmanaged diabetes can result in uncontrolled blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can damage major organs such as the kidneys.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is a condition where blood travels through the body’s blood vessels at an increased force. Untreated high blood pressure levels can damage the kidneys’ tissue over time.
Chronic kidney disease can also be caused by-
- Polycystic kidney disease: It is an inherited condition where there is a growth of fluid-filled sacs called ‘cysts’ inside a person’s kidneys.
- Glomerular diseases: Diseases like glomerulonephritis affect the ability of kidneys to filter out waste.
- Lupus: Lupus and other autoimmune diseases can affect multiple body systems.
Symptoms of kidney failure
Not many people experience symptoms in the early stages of kidney disease. However, chronic kidney disease can still cause damage in the initial stages.
The symptoms may vary from person to person in chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. One or more of these signs may be noticeable if a person’s kidneys are not functioning properly:
- Dry or itchy skin
- Poor appetite
- Confusion or trouble in concentrating
- Swelling, especially around hands or ankles
- Stomach upset or vomiting
Diagnosis of kidney failure
Doctors may use a number of different tests to measure kidney function and diagnose kidney failure. If they suspect that a person might be at risk for kidney failure, then they may recommend:
- Blood tests: these provide a clear picture on how well the kidneys are functioning, i.e., removing waste from the blood.
- Advanced imaging: Any sort of kidney abnormalities or blockages can be detected by these tests.
- Urine tests: These help measure specific substances in the urine, like protein or blood.
Can kidney failure be prevented?
Kidney failure caused by chronic kidney diseases can not be undone, but steps can be taken to preserve the kidney function a person has today. Healthy habits and routines may slow down the pace at which kidneys lose their functional abilities.
A person having chronic kidney disease or kidney failure may want to:
- Monitor their kidney function through doctor’s assistance
- Keep their blood sugar levels under control, if they have diabetes
- Keep their blood pressure levels at a normal range
- Avoid smoking
- Make healthy diet choices, like avoid foods high in sodium and protein.
Treatment for kidney failure
To treat kidney failure, it is important to ascertain the cause and extent of the problem. If a person’s kidneys start to lose function gradually, the doctor may use one or more methods to track their health. By keeping a close watch, the doctor can help maintain a person’s kidneys function for as long as possible.
The doctor may begin the process with-
- Routine blood tests
- Blood pressure checks
Since the kidneys serve such an important purpose in the human body, people in kidney failure need treatment to keep them alive. The main treatments for kidney failure are-
- Dialysis: Since the kidneys can no longer perform its basic function of filtering waste from the blood, Dialysis helps the body filter blood.
- In hemodialysis, the blood is cleaned by a machine on a regular basis. This kidney failure treatment can be received at a hospital or dialysis clinic, 3-4 days a week.
- Peritoneal dialysis cleans the blood by using a dialysis solution and a catheter. In some cases people may opt for their treatment at home.
- Kidney transplant: In kidney transplant surgery, a healthy kidney is placed in the body of a person with a damaged kidney to take over its job. This healthy kidney is called a donor organ and it comes from a donor who may be deceased or living. The donor may be an acquaintance, family member or friend. People can live on one healthy kidney.
Ayurveda treatment for kidney failure
Ayurveda is the best treatment for kidney failure. Ayurveda originated in India, however today it is in practice all over the world. Ayurveda is holistic in nature, i.e., it does not just account for the symptoms of a disease but also caters to other factors such as conditions of mind, body, and soul.
Ayurveda is also the best treatment alternative as it has no side effects on the body. Unlike other treatment alternatives like Dialysis and kidney transplant, it is affordable and result-oriented.