Kidney failure is when your kidneys don’t work as they should. The kidneys clean the blood and make urine. They also level out the fluids in your body.
The 2 types are:
Anatomy of the Kidney
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AKI is usually the result an injury, infection, or a toxin. Many long term health problems cause kidney function to decline over time. This causes wastes and fluids to build up in your blood.
The 2 most common causes are:
Other common causes:
Your risk is higher if you have:
Symptoms are usually not present in early stages. Later stages may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You may also have:
Care focuses on slowing the process of disease. It can also help limit further damage. You will need care for other health problems that cause stress on your kidneys.
Care for AKI will focus on the cause such as treating an infection. You may get healthy enough for your kidneys to work normally.
Making changes may help your kidneys stay healthier longer. These may involve:
Medicines help manage:
Your doctor may also change medicines you take if they harm your kidneys.
Dialysis takes over the work of the kidneys. You may need it for a short time while they heal. Some people need it for life. Others use it until a kidney transplant is ready.
There are 2 main types:
A transplant may work for some people. A healthy kidney comes from a donor. It’s placed next to the existing kidney during surgery. The new kidney should work well enough for you to stop dialysis.
An effective transplant may depend on the cause of kidney damage and your overall health.
To lower your chances of kidney problems:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Kidney Foundation
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
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Your kidneys and how they work. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work. Updated March 2014. Accessed June 6, 2018.
1/4/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905401/Anemia-of-chronic-kidney-disease : Deved V, Poyah P, James MT, et al. Ascorbic acid for anemia management in hemodialysis patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Kidney Dis. 2009;54(6):1089-1097.
10/10/2013 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T908720/Chronic-kidney-disease-mineral-and-bone-disorder-CKD-MBD : Di lorio B, Molony D, Bell C, et al. Sevelamer versus calcium carbonate in incident hemodialysis patients: Results of an open-label 24-month randomized clinical trial. Am J Kidney Dis. 2013;62(4):771-778.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 6/6/2018