Renal insufficiency (kidney failure, kidney failure) causes the kidneys to function only to a limited degree or not at all. The main job of the kidneys is to filter and purify the blood. The bean-shaped organs extract excess water and toxic metabolic products from the blood stream – both are excreted as urine. Thus, the kidneys play a crucial role in the regulation of the entire water and salt balance – they are the main detoxification organs of the body.
Renal insufficiency: consequences for the whole body
Renal insufficiency has far-reaching consequences for the whole organism. Among other things, it can lead to water retention in the tissue (edema), high blood pressure, disorders of the nervous system, anemia and bone loss. The more advanced the renal insufficiency is, the more serious the discomfort. In case of extensive or complete kidney failure, only artificial blood purification (dialysis) or a kidney transplant can save the patient’s life.
Forms of renal insufficiency
Physicians have distinguished two forms of renal insufficiency – depending on how quickly renal function wears off.
Acute renal insufficiency
It is also called acute renal insufficiency or acute kidney failure. The kidney function is here suddenly, within hours or days back. Possible causes include, for example, injuries or operations with high fluid and blood loss, inflammation, infections, medications or a blockage of the urine outflow (such as through kidney stones or an enlarged prostate). The functioning kidney tissue is damaged, which is ultimately responsible for the acute renal failure. The destroyed kidney tissue can often recover with early diagnosis and treatment. Without rapid treatment, acute renal insufficiency can be fatal.
Chronic renal insufficiency
In chronic renal failure (chronic renal insufficiency), renal function deteriorates continuously over months or years. The reason for the gradual kidney failure is usually diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure (hypertension). In contrast to acute renal failure, chronic renal failure is associated with a permanent loss of functional kidney tissue. Timely and consistent treatment can be but the progression of renal insufficiency brake.