Kidney Failure: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatments

Kidney Failure: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatments


Kidneys accomplish significant functions in the body. They keep your whole body in balance by:

  • Help control blood pressure.
  • Remove wastes and extra water from the body.
  • Help to make red blood cells.

They are located in the region of the lower back. Kidney failure happens when the kidneys unexpectedly can not filter or are unable to waste products from the blood.

When the kidneys lose their ability to filter, severe levels of waste may accumulate, and the blood’s chemical makeup becomes out of balance. Therefore, the body becomes overloaded with toxins.

Symptoms of kidney failure:

 Kidney disease advances and symptoms may include:

  • A fewer amount of urine
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent nausea
  • Chest Pain
  • Coma
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • A heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)

What are the causes?

The two most common causes of kidney failure are high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. 

Loss of blood flow to the kidneys

A loss of blood flow to the kidneys can start kidney failure. Some diseases that cause loss of blood flow to the kidneys include:

  • heart attack and heart disease
  • Liver failure
  • Allergy
  • Dehydration
  • severe infection

High blood pressure and some medications can restrict blood flow.

Urine elimination problems

When the body can not stop urine, toxins gradual accumulations and overload the kidneys. Some cancers can obstacle the urine passages, such as:

  • colon
  • bladder
  • prostate
  • cervical

Additional conditions that can interfere with urination and may lead to kidney failure include:

  • enlarged prostate
  • kidney stones
  • blood clots 
  • damage or injury to the nerves that control the bladder

Other causes

  • Infections
  • Lupus: is an immune disorder that can cause inflammation of many organs of the body
  • drugs and alcohol use
  • Blood clots around the kidneys
  • Glomerulonephritis: is an inflammation of the small blood vessels of the kidneys
  • Vasculitis: an inflammation of the blood vessels.
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Diabetes
  • Scleroderma: that affects the skin
  • Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura: a condition that causes blood clots in small vessels
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Chemotherapy drugs

Risk factors:

It always happens as a result of another medical condition. These conditions that can raise the risk of kidney failure include:

  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Advanced age
  • Certain cancers and their treatments
  • Liver diseases
  • Kidney diseases
  • Blockages in the blood vessels in your arms or legs 
  • Heart failure


complications of kidney failure include:

  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Permanent kidney damage
  • Fluid buildup
  • Anemia
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Death

Secondary complications

 A lot of people with kidney failure expose to secondary complications such as:

  • Liver failure
  • Depression
  • Skin infections
  • Gout
  • Nerve damage

Diagnosis of Kidney Failure:

If the symptoms lead to kidney failure, a physician may advise some tests and procedures to confirm the diagnosis. These may include:

  1. Urine tests

It is a sample of urine that may show abnormalities that lead to kidney failure.

  1. Blood tests

It is a sample of blood that may show rising levels of urea and creatinine — They are used to measure kidney function.

  1. Urine output measurements

 Estimating how much a patient urinates during 24 hours helps the physician determine the cause of kidney failure.

  1. Blood tests

 A sample of blood may reveal rapidly rising levels of urea and creatinine — two substances used to measure kidney function.

  1. Imaging tests

 Imaging tests such as ultrasound and CT may be used to help your physician see and diagnose the kidneys.


There are many treatment options. The type of treatment a patient needs will rely on the cause of the kidney failure and the stage.

 1- Dialysis

Dialysis filters and cleanses the blood by using a machine. This machine performs the function of the kidneys. It is not a cure but extends life. Furthermore, it has a weekly schedule from 1 to 3 a week.

2- Kidney transplant

A kidney transplant may work well, so a patient no longer needs dialysis. But, it takes a long time to find a donor’s kidney compatible with a patient’s body.

3- Lifestyle modifications

Lower intake of alcohol and diet changes can help to prevent kidney failure from advancing to a more intense disease.

Request an appointment if you want to speak to a nephrologist by CliniDo