What is kidney failure?
Kidney failure is a medical condition that is caused when one or both kidneys can no longer function on their own. It can sometimes be temporary. In other cases, it is a chronic condition that can get worse gradually over some time.
Kidney failure may sound serious at times. Treatments like dialysis and kidney transplant can help people with limited kidney function survive.
How is kidney failure caused?
The most common causes of kidney failure include diabetes and high blood pressure. It may sometimes happen quickly due to any unforeseen cause.
When the kidney loses function all of a sudden (sometimes within hours or days), it is known as acute kidney failure. It is usually a temporary condition. The causes of acute kidney failure are-
- Autoimmune diseases
- A urinary tract obstruction
- Severe dehydration
- Certain medications
- Heart or liver disease
Chronic kidney failure is a condition where a group of health complications affects kidney function over time. Chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure if not treated timely. The following are causes of chronic kidney failure-
- Diabetes: Unmanaged diabetes can often lead to uncontrolled blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels may damage the major organs of the body, especially the kidneys.
- High blood pressure: This condition causes the blood to travel through the body’s blood vessels at an increased force. It is also known as hypertension. Untreated high blood pressure levels can damage the kidneys’ tissue as time passes by.
Other causes of chronic kidney disease are-
- Polycystic kidney disease: It is usually a hereditary condition that causes cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to develop inside the kidneys.
- Glomerular diseases: Diseases such as glomerulonephritis affect how well the kidneys can perform their function, i.e. filter waste from the blood.
- Lupus: Lupus and other such autoimmune disorders can damage multiple body systems.
What are the symptoms of kidney failure?
Most people experience few or no symptoms in the early stages of kidney disease. It becomes important to know that the risk of damage remains persistent even when a person feels fine.
Different people develop different symptoms in chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. The signs and symptoms that one may develop when their kidneys are not functioning properly are-
- An upset stomach or vomiting
- Confusion or trouble concentrating
- Frequent urination
- Swelling around hands and ankles
- Muscle cramps
- Dry or itchy skin
- Poor appetite
Diagnosis of kidney failure
Doctors may use a variety of tests to ascertain kidney function and diagnose kidney failure. They may recommend the following tests if they suspect the patient to be at risk for kidney failure-
- Blood tests: These can show how well the kidneys are removing waste from the blood.
- Advanced imaging: This can show any sort of kidney abnormalities or obstructions in the kidney.
- Urine tests: These can help measure the amount of urine or specific substances present in the urine, such as blood or protein.
Treatment for kidney failure
The treatment for kidney failure is determined by the cause and extent of the problem. Treatment for chronic medical conditions may delay the progress of kidney disease. The doctor may use one or more methods to track the health of a person whose kidneys lose function gradually. The doctor can help retain the kidneys’ function for as long as possible by keeping a close watch.
The doctor may help a person maintain their kidneys’ function by-
- Routine blood tests
- Blood pressure checks
People suffering from kidney failure need treatment to stay alive since the kidneys serve such an important purpose in the human body. The main treatments of kidney failure are-
- Dialysis: As the kidneys can no longer function on their own, this treatment helps the body filter the blood.
- A machine regularly cleans the blood for the patient People can receive this form of kidney failure treatment at a hospital or dialysis clinic. It is usually advised to receive this treatment 3-4 times a week.
- Peritoneal dialysis makes use of a dialysis solution and a catheter. People may opt for this treatment at home.
- Kidney transplant: It is a treatment procedure where the doctors place a healthy kidney in the body of a person with damaged kidneys. This healthy kidney, also called a donor organ, takes over the job of the damaged organs. This may come from a deceased donor or a living donor. People can survive on one healthy kidney.
Can kidney failure be prevented?
One may not be able to reverse kidney failure from chronic kidney disease, but one can always take steps that may help preserve their remaining kidney function. Healthy habits and routines can help slow down how quickly the kidneys lose their functional abilities.
A person suffering from chronic kidney disease may want to:
- Monitor their kidney function regularly, after consulting a doctor
- Maintain their blood sugar levels, especially people with diabetes
- Keep their blood pressure levels at a normal range
- Avoid smoking
- Make healthy diet choices and limit foods that are high in protein and sodium.
Ayurvedic treatment for kidney failure
Ayurveda has a unique approach in curing kidney diseases (Madhumeha) treatment, which includes diet (Pathya), medicines, exercise (Vyaayam), and Panchakarma (bio-purification procedures). The results are effective if one sticks to the procedure with dedication and discipline.
Chronic kidney diseases need immediate attention or otherwise, it can cause the kidney to fail. In such situations, dialysis or a kidney transplant becomes the only alternatives. Since both these alternatives are not affordable to everyone and can have adverse effects on health, therefore Ayurvedic treatment for kidney failure is the best form of treatment.
Ayurveda recommends adopting the following steps to achieve the desired results-
- Lifestyle modifications
- Healthy and balanced diet
- Ensure enough rest