Saving Your Kidneys: Treating Acute Kidney Injury & Kidney Failure
A sudden, rapid deterioration of kidney function is commonly referred to as Acute Kidney Injury. This process often occurs over several hours or days. Suffering from acute kidney injury can be very serious and potentially life-threatening. When the kidneys become damaged, an individual’s ability to filter waste and fluids from their body is suddenly impaired, leading to a build-up of toxins in the body. If left untreated, acute kidney injury can quickly lead to fatal complications.
Causes of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)
Acute kidney injury may have various causes. These include:
► Dehydration: Inadequate hydration can affect the average circulation of blood through the kidneys, leading to injury or damage. A lack of fluids decreases the blood flow to these organs and may affect their function adversely.
► Medication: AKI can be a side effect of certain drugs, like antibiotics and painkillers.
► Infection: Certain illnesses, including sepsis, can result in acute renal failure.
► Kidney damage: Injury to the kidneys may lead to acute kidney injury.
► Obstruction: Acute kidney injury may be caused by a urinary tract obstruction preventing urine from leaving the body.
Symptoms of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)
Individuals with acute kidney injury may experience various symptoms depending on their severity. There might be a gradual reduction in urine output over several days, an abrupt decrease over a few hours or even a complete cessation of urination.
In severe cases, toxins can build up in the brain, leading to confusion or even a coma. This can occur when waste products usually removed by the kidneys accumulate in the bloodstream, affecting brain function. Other possible symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Some people may also experience high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.
Seek medical attention immediately if you or a loved one display any of the above symptoms.
Treatment and AKI Risk Factor(s)
When managing acute kidney injury, it is essential to identify and address its root cause. In milder cases, this may be achievable through supportive measures like fluids and electrolyte management. However, in situations where acute kidney injury is more severe, medical treatment is essential to stop further damage to both kidneys and other organs.
The objective of acute kidney injury treatment is to prevent additional damage to the kidneys and return them to optimal kidney function. This could necessitate interventions to enhance blood circulation towards the kidneys like intravenous fluids or medications to raise blood pressure. In cases where the acute kidney injury is caused by a blockage of the urinary tract, such as a kidney stone, surgical removal of the blockage may be required for proper urine flow to be restored.
When it comes to treating acute kidney injury, managing its underlying medical circumstances is just as important. This could involve administering antibiotics for an infectious acute kidney injury or stopping the medication that is causing the condition. Altering doses may also help alleviate any symptoms related to medication usage.
When a person’s kidneys can no longer filter fluids and waste products efficiently, dialysis may be necessary. This process involves using a machine to take over this task, which can either serve as a temporary solution until kidney function is recovered or an ongoing method for managing kidney disease. The device filters the blood and removes any extra fluid and toxins that are present.
In addition to seeking personalized treatment for acute kidney injury, early and appropriate care can aid in a successful recovery for many people. Kidney function is likely to be maintained with a timely diagnosis, and longer-term complications can be avoided.