Would Kidneys Suddenly Stop Working? -- Acute Kidney Failure
Acute kidney failure happens all of sudden, whereas chronic failure happens over time, often as a result of other illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure. Acute kidney failure can range from mild to serious. Serious cases may require dialysis and may develop into a chronic condition.
What causes acute kidney failure?
Acute kidney failure may occur for a variety of reasons. A sudden, serious drop in blood flow to the kidneys. Heavy blood loss, an injury, or a bad infection called sepsis can reduce blood flow to the kidneys. Not enough fluid in the body (dehydration) also can harm the kidneys.
Obstructions in the urinary tract or renal artery can start acute kidney failure. Tumors, kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine in the urinary tract. A blockage in the renal artery can cut off the supply of oxygen to the kidneys. Oxygen is necessary for kidney function. When the kidneys are starved for oxygen, a condition called Acute Tubular Necrosis (ATN) sets in.
Symptoms of acute renal failure include nausea, weakness, sluggishness and tremors. In severe cases, the kidneys may stop producing urine. People may also experience blood in the urine or foam in the urine.
What symptoms should I look for?
Blood and urine tests can check how well your kidneys are working. A chemistry screen can show if you have normal levels of sodium (salt), potassium, and calcium. You may also have an ultrasound. This imaging test lets your doctor see a picture of your kidneys.
There are a number of causes of acute renal failure. In some cases, any damage done to the kidneys is reversible. The condition can be brought on by certain medications or other drugs, an obstruction or something that causes blood flow to the kidneys to drop, such as an infection or dehydration.
Learn More: Can Red Bloody Stools Indicate Acute Renal Failure