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Symptoms Of Kidney Failure

Kidney failure happens when the kidneys are suddenly unable to filter out the waste from the blood. This can occur suddenly (acute failure) or can be the result of a long-term issue. When it does happen, the waste in the body builds up, causing the chemical makeup of the blood to become unbalanced. Acute failure can happen suddenly—within a few hours or days—while long-term issues can build up over years. Generally, acute failure happens to those who are in the hospital for other, intensive care-related, issues. Kidney failure may be fatal, but it can be reversed in some situations, especially if you’re in good health.


If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be dealing with kidney failure:

• A decrease in the frequency of urination or amount of urination (although sometimes this remains the same).
• A shortness of breath
• Drowsiness
• Retaining fluid
• Swelling in the feet, ankles, or legs (usually as a result of retaining fluid)
• Fatigue
• Nausea
• Feeling confused
• Pressure or pain in your chest
• In severe kidney failure, you may even experience seizures or fall into a coma

While these are the common symptoms, it’s also possible to have no signs at all but still be in the midst of kidney failure. In that case, only lab tests will be able to confirm the diagnosis. If you have any of these signs, however, you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible.

What Causes Kidney Failure?

Kidney failure can be caused by a number of different issues, including having any condition that causes blood flow to the kidneys to slow down, damage to the kidneys, or causes the drainage tubes that connect the kidneys to the rest of the body to become blocked. Things that can cause these issues include the following:

• Blood loss
• Taking a medication for blood pressure
• Heart attack
• Infection
• Liver failure
• Heart disease
• Over-using over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen
• Having a severe allergic reaction to something
• Severe burns
• Severe dehydration
• Blood clots in arteries or veins near the kidneys
• Cholesterol deposits blocking blood flow
• Inflammation in the kidneys
• Lupus
• Multiple myeloma
• Scleroderma
• Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
• Different toxic substances in the blood, like alcohol or drugs
• Vasculitis
• Hemolytic uremic syndrome
• Bladder cancer
• Cervical cancer
• Blood clots
• Colon cancer
• Kidney stones
• Nerve damage in and around the bladder
• Prostate cancer
• Enlarged prostate

Factors that can put you at risk of Kidney Failure

Generally, kidney failure doesn’t occur on its own—it occurs as a result of some other medical condition. Those who are older are more likely to have to deal with kidney failure, as are those with high blood pressure or diabetes. Anything that causes blockages in the arteries or veins is also a major factor, as are all types of liver or kidney diseases.

Things that can Result from Kidney Failure

If you’re dealing with kidney failure, you may also find that you have a built-up of fluid in your lungs, have some issues that cause chest pain, or permanently lose some or all of your kidney functions. In that case, you may need either a kidney transplant or be on dialysis.