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Kidney Failure (Renal Failure)
Product Specifications: 8.5 x 11 inches or 5.5x 8.5 inches; 50 tear sheets, two-sided information (full color front side, one-color back side), printed on white stock, sturdy cardboard back, detailed medical illustrations in color and continuous tone, space available for overprinting of contact information or product may be customized with new artwork or text (additional charge may apply). This tear sheet pad contains the following information: Kidney Failure (Renal Failure) Definition Kidney failure occurs when one or both kidneys are not able to perform their usual functions. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in the lower back. Their main function is to remove waste from the body and to balance the water and electrolyte content of the blood by filtering the salt and water in the blood. The waste and water excreted by the kidneys combine to form urine. Kidney failure is divided into acute and chronic. Acute Kidney Failure – sudden loss of kidney function Chronic Kidney Failure – slow, gradual loss of kidney function If kidney function is reduced to 20% of normal function, serious health problems develop. When kidney function decreases to 10% to 15% of normal, dialysis or a transplant is needed to maintain life. Causes Kidney diseases cause the tiny filters in the kidneys (called nephrons) to lose their filtering ability. Damage to the nephrons may occur suddenly after an injury or poisoning. However, many kidney diseases take years or even decades to cause damage that is noticeable. The two most commons causes of kidney failure are: * Diabetes – longstanding high blood sugar that results from diabetes damages the nephrons * High blood pressure – longstanding high blood pressure damages the capillaries in the kidneys Others causes of kidney failure may include: * Birth defects * Blockage of the urinary tract due to: o Bladder or colon tumor o Enlarged prostate o Large kidney stone(s) * Build-up of abnormal substances within the kidneys, such as: o Amyloidosis o Protein buildup * Conditions that severely decrease circulating fluid/blood volume, such as: o Burns o Heart failure o Liver disease o Pancreatitis o Peritonitis o Sepsis o Severe blood loss o Shock (due to any of the above conditions or a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure) * Glomerulonephritis * Long-term use of medicines that contain: o Acetaminophen o Aspirin o Ibuprofen * Poisoning * Polycystic kidney disease * Pyelonephritis * Severe trauma * Systemic diseases, including: o Polyarteritis o Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) o Wegener's and Goodpasture's granulomatosis * Toxic reaction to drugs or x-ray dyes Risk Factors A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for kidney failure include: * Cancer * Diabetes * HIV * High blood pressure * Liver failure, jaundice * Long-term use of painkillers containing aspirin or NSAIDs in high doses * Lupus * Recent open heart surgery * Recent surgery on an abdominal aortic aneurysm * Respiratory failure Symptoms Some kidney diseases begin without any symptoms at all. As kidney failure progresses, some of the following symptoms may develop: * Constipation * Diarrhea * Fatigue * Fluid retention * Frequent urination * High blood pressure * Itchy skin * Loss of appetite, malnutrition * Low urine output * Muscle cramps and twitches * Nausea * Numbness of hands and feet * Pericarditis * Shortness of breath * Sores, bad taste in the mouth * Swelling throughout the body * Swollen hands and feet * Vomiting * Weak, brittle bones * Yellowish-brownish skin tone Diagnosis The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include: Blood Tests – to see if the kidneys are working properly. If they are not working properly, blood levels of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen will increase. Urine Tests – to see if the kidneys are working properly. If they are not working properly, urine may contain elevated amounts of protein. You may be asked to collect urine in a special container over a 24-hour period. In addition to finding out if you are losing protein in your urine, your doctor can determine how your kidneys are functioning by measuring if your kidneys are clearing creatinine at a normal rate. In severe kidney failure, the amount of urine produced may be quite low, and can even be completely absent. Renal Imaging – use of ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT scan) to take a picture of the kidneys. These pictures will show whether there is a blockage in the flow of urine or a growth on the kidney. Biopsy – removal of a tiny piece of kidney tissue to see how kidney cells are functioning. Treatment Most chronic kidney diseases are not reversible, but the following are treatments that may be recommended to help preserve as much kidney function as possible, and to try to reverse some of the ill effects of kidney failure. General Measures * Daily weight checks * Fluid restriction * High carbohydrate diet * Low protein diet Medications Use of all medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter, should be carefully reviewed. Medications that rely on the kidney for excretion need to be carefully dosed and monitored, or avoided entirely. Medications used in acute or chronic kidney failure may include: * Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors * Blood pressure medications * Diuretics, such as furosemide or mannitol – help to flush out the kidneys, increase urine flow, and rid the body of excess sodium * Dopamine, atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) – dilates blood vessels in the kidneys, increases urine flow, flushes out sodium Dialysis – dialysis is a process that takes over for the kidneys and filters potentially toxic waste from the blood. Dialysis may be done temporarily, until kidney function improves, or until a kidney transplant is available. Balancing of Electrolytes, Anemia, and Low Platelet Counts– blood levels of sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphate, as well as hematology measures such as red blood cells, hematocrit, and platelets should be monitored regularly. Injections of erythropoietin, a hormone normally produced by the kidney to stimulate production of red blood cells, may be given to manage the anemia of kidney disease. Kidney Transplant – for some people, receiving a kidney transplant may be the right option. Success of a kidney transplant depends on multiple factors, including whether the underlying cause of the kidney damage is still present, and general state of health of the person receiving the transplant. Lifestyle Changes The following are steps to help your kidneys stay healthy longer: * Avoid the chronic use of pain medications. * Have your blood pressure checked regularly and use appropriate medication to control high blood pressure. * If you are diabetic, control your blood sugar carefully. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help. * If you have chronic kidney disease, you may need to limit your intake of protein. A dietitian can help you adjust your diet. * If you have severe kidney disease, limit your potassium intake (found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds). Help from a dietitian is crucial if your kidneys are failing. * Limit cholesterol intake. Cholesterol is present in foods that come from animals, such as meat and dairy products, including eggs. * Limit sodium intake. Prevention In some cases, you cannot prevent kidney failure. But there are some steps you can take that will lower your risk of kidney failure: * Avoid long-term exposure to toxic substances such as lead and solvents. * Do not abuse alcohol or over-the-counter pain medication. * If you are diabetic, control your blood sugar. * If you have chronic kidney failure, consult your doctor before you become pregnant. * Maintain normal blood pressure.