When a kidney is not working properly, harmful waste like salts and fluids build up in the body. These cause high blood pressure and the symptoms of kidney failure
The function of the kidneys is, among other things, to get rid of the waste products that result from the body's metabolism. One of the major by-products of the metabolism of protein (muscle) is urea. The kidneys remove the waste products by extracting them from the blood and sending them along the ureter to the bladder, from where they are excreted in the urine. Each kidney is about 10-15 cms long, weighs about 160gms and gets rid of between one and one and a half litres of urine per day. The two kidneys together filter 200 litres of fluid every 24 hours
Renal failure can happen rapidly this is acute renal failure. This may occur with any serious illness or operation, particularly those complicated by severe infection. If the blood supply to the kidneys is reduced considerably from blood loss, a fall in blood pressure, severe dehydration or lack of salt, then the kidneys may be damaged. If this problem lasts long enough there can be permanent damage to the kidney tissue.
Renal failure can also occur more slowly – this is chronic renal failure, this includes inflammatory conditions affecting the kidney tissue, as a complication of long-standing diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes), chronic blockage to the drainage of the kidneys and as a result of certain inherited conditions such as polycystic kidney disease. Often, the cause has occurred many years earlier and cannot be identified.
It's often not possible to prevent kidney failure. But you may reduce your risk by following these suggestions:
- Don't abuse alcohol or other drugs, including over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Avoid long-term exposure to heavy metals, such as lead, as well as to solvents, fuels and other toxic substances.
If you have a chronic medical condition that increases your risk of kidney failure, carefully follow all of your doctor's recommendations for managing your condition