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Identify the signs and symptoms of acute kidney failure

18 March 2022

Key points

  • A timely diagnosis will help you access the best treatment to reduce the symptoms of acute kidney failure.

  • Going to a doctor before any sign of kidney disease is vital to save your life.

  • A case of poorly treated kidney failure can cause severe complications in the future.

Kidney failure is a condition in which the kidneys gradually lose their ability to filter waste from the blood, throwing its chemical composition out of balance and accumulating waste that is harmful to the body.

It can develop at an alarming rate in its acute stage, especially in people who are already hospitalized or have critical illnesses that need intensive care, however, with proper treatment and time, kidney damage can be reversible or, at least, controlled.

Below, we show you a list that will help you identify the most frequent symptoms. Take note!

  • You urinate less often and very little.
  • Your legs, ankles, and feet swell.
  • You have fatigue accompanied by shortness of breath.
  • You feel disoriented and/or weak.
  • Pain or tightness in the chest.
  • You have had nausea for no apparent reason.
  • Irregular heartbeat.

You must see an expert who will indicate the type of tests you need in case of any suspicion, and more so if you suffer from any comorbidity or risk factor that may increase your chances of suffering from it, such as:

  • Old age.
  • Blockages in the blood vessels in the arms and legs (peripheral arterial disease).
  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart failure.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Liver diseases.
  • Some types of cancer and their treatments.

In addition to the above, some conditions obstruct the passage of urine and that can also cause kidney failure, for example, an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and various types of cancer (cervical, colon, bladder, or prostate).

A case of kidney failure that is not treated in time can lead to complications that put your life at risk and even lead to death, which appear as follows:

  • Fluid accumulation.Acute kidney failure causes fluid buildup in your lungs and difficulty breathing.
  • Chest pain.You may feel pain if the lining that covers the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed.
  • Muscle weakness.When your body fluids and electrolytes (your body’s blood chemistry) are out of balance, you can develop muscle weakness.
  • Permanent kidney injury.Sometimes, kidney failure causes permanent loss of function in your kidneys, so it can be called chronic kidney disease or chronic kidney failure.

One of our recommendations to avoid the risk of kidney failure is to take care of your kidneys with actions that guarantee your health and improve your quality of life in the long term. To do this, we suggest you do the following:

  • Pay attention to the labels on over-the-counter painkillers.Taking too much pain medication increases the risk of damaging your kidneys, especially if you have pre-existing kidney damage, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Remember that the use of these medications must always be prescribed by a doctor.
  • Work with your doctor to control your kidney problems and other chronic disorders.If you have a condition that increases your risk of developing kidney failures, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, follow medical recommendations to achieve your treatment goals.
  • Make a healthy lifestyle a priority.Stay active and follow a proper and balanced diet, if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

At ABC Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!


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