What is Kidney Failure?

Our kidneys primarily function as the body’s filtration system: they filter the blood to remove toxins and waste products and eliminate unwanted substances through urination. Sometimes, though, the kidneys can no longer filter the blood as effectively as they should. We call this condition kidney or kidney failure. If left untreated, kidney failure can lead to various complications and death.

Acute vs. Chronic Kidney Failure

There are two types of kidney failure: acute kidney failure and chronic kidney failure. Learn more about their differences below:

1.Acute Renal Failure

Acute kidney failure (AKI) means that the filtration system in the kidneys stops suddenly, usually within hours to days. AKI is usually reversible, meaning that, with intervention, the kidneys recover and regain their function.

Because acute kidney failure is often transient, many health care professionals now prefer to use acute kidney injury instead of acute kidney failure. In this article, we will use the terms acute kidney injury and acute kidney failure interchangeably.

2.Chronic Kidney Failure

Unlike acute kidney injury, chronic kidney failure means a progressive and ongoing decline in kidney function. This means that the problem begins mildly, develops slowly, and may reach the point where you need kidney replacement therapy (transplantation or dialysis).

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Kidney Failure

  • Decreased urine output, although there are conditions when urine output is normal
  • Swollen legs, ankles, and feet due to fluid retention
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Internal bleeding
  • Pressure or pain in the chest
  • Seizures or coma in severe cases

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Failure

Reports say signs and symptoms of chronic kidney failure don’t show until after kidney function drops to 20%. At that time, the following symptoms of kidney failure may appear:

  • Abnormal blood tests, including a diagnosis of anemia
  • Abnormal urine tests
  • Swelling in the face, hands, and feet
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest ache
  • Easy bruising
  • Skin color yellow to brown
  • Itching
  • Muscle spasms or twitches
  • Numbness and sensation of freshness
  • Weak bones that increase the risk of fractures
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Coma