Your kidneys are a diverse organ that is responsible for a variety of important tasks that are necessary for supporting and sustaining human life. Most people have two kidneys, which are located in the lower area of your torso. The primary responsibility of the kidneys is to filter water and waste from the blood, which is what forms urine; however, the kidneys also have other responsibilities that are totally unrelated to filtration. Kidney failure (renal failure) occurs when the kidneys fail to dispose of the waste products and toxins from the blood stream.
Causes of Kidney Failure
Acute kidney failure often occurs as a result of damage, such as from an injury or expose to certain substances. Kidney failure is sometimes caused by an abrupt and severe lace of blood flow to the kidneys. If there is a serious injury, which results in a severe loss of blood or if there is an infection in the bloodstream, it is known as sepsis, which can develop into kidney failure. Certain medications, including antibiotics, over-the-counter pain medications, some blood pressure medications and/or x-ray dye may cause kidney failure. Injury to kidney as a result of an enlarged prostate, tumors and/or kidney stones.
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Failure
In the majority of situations, kidney failure does not suddenly happen. It typically takes years to get to the end stages and for most people, kidney disease is treatable in the early stages. Each stage of kidney disease leads up to kidney failure and each stage presents differently and with varying symptoms.
Stages one and two it is common for people who are in stages one and two to not have any symptoms, because the kidneys will continue to function, even if they are not working at 100%.
Stage 3 – during stage 3, the waste products begin to increase in the blood stream, which cause a presence of symptoms. The symptoms in stage 3 often include anemia, fatigue, foamy or dark colored urine, fluid buildup in the lower legs, face and hands, back pain and problems sleeping.
Stage 4 – during this stage, the lack of blood filtration is extremely dangerous and typically warrants dialysis or a kidney transplant. Someone suffering with stage 4 kidney failure will experience all of the symptoms of stage 3 in addition to shortness of breath from the excessive buildup of fluid, trouble focusing, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and numbness in fingers and toes.
Stage 5 – when someone is in stage 5 of kidney failure the kidneys are not filtering much, if anything at all, so dialysis or a transplant is necessary for survival. The symptoms of stage 5 kidney failure include the symptoms from stages 3 and 4 as well as new symptoms that may include itchiness, headaches, changes in skin color and the inability to urinate.
If you notice any warning signs of possible kidney failure, it is critical that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you have not been diagnosed with kidney disease, you may be displaying symptoms of the possible onset of a problem with your kidneys.