Renal Failure: Causes, Types, Symptoms, and Preventions

renal failure

Renal failure, or Kidney failure, is a condition where one or both kidneys stop working on their own. Renal failure can be either temporary or permanent. When the kidneys cannot filter and clean blood, they cause a buildup of unsafe levels of waste products. This disorder is identified as Renal Failure.

What is Kidney and Renal Failure?

Kidneys are bean-shaped organs, about the size of a fist, found on the back side of the spine (on either side). Kidneys clear out the blood and take away the toxic wastes from it.

Kidneys also maintain the required levels of various elements in the body, for example, sodium, potassium, calcium, etc. Toxic wastes are pushed to the bladder where they're removed for micturition. Renal Failure can be defined as an ailment where the kidneys fail to take out toxic or waste materials from the body.

Causes of Renal Failure

Renal failure or kidney failure occurs due to various infection-related illnesses. A man or woman who has diabetes mellitus or excessive blood stress is more prone to renal failure.

Renal failure can happen due to a number of factors:

  • Certain acute and continual diseases
  • Excessive dehydration
  • Kidney trauma
  • Exposure to pollution or immoderate medicines

Types of Renal Failure

Renal failure can be categorized in two ways:

  1. Acute Renal Failure or ARF
  2. Chronic Renal Failure or CRF

Acute Renal Failure (ARF)

Acute renal failure takes place when the kidney all at once stops filtering blood.

The primary signs and symptoms of acute renal failure include:

  • Inner Bleeding
  • Confusion
  • Swelling Of Hands, Face, And Toes
  • Excessive Blood Stress
  • Seizures

Types of Acute Renal Failure

Acute renal failure is diverged into 3 primary categories:

  1. Pre-renal acute kidney damage
  2. Intrinsic acute renal damage.
  3. Post-renal Intrinsic renal damage.
Prerenal Acute Kidney Injury

A pre-renal failure is a condition wherein the flow of blood to the kidney decreases. Other factors that can cause pre-renal failure are:

  • Gastroenteritis, or lack of blood
  • Vasodilation because of the drug’s reaction
  • Active hypovolemia sepsis
  • Decreased cardiac output
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Addisonian crisis
  • Salt losing syndrome
  • Protein-dropping enteropathy
  • Altered hemodynamics or dynamics of blood waft because of dehydration
  • Deficiency of blood in kidneys through– Intrarenal redistribution, in particular, because of, vasoconstrictors, anaesthesia, pressure, and surgery
Intrinsic Acute Renal Injury

Intrinsic renal damage is characterized by direct harm to the nephrons. It is frequently complicated and can be secondary to any other illness. Prerenal elements may result in acute tubular necrosis (ATN). Additional reasons include:

  • Glomerulonephritis (acute post-streptococcal and others)
  • Microangiopathic states (hemolytic uremic syndrome, DIC, TTP)
  • Vasculitis (polyarteritis nodosa, Lupus, Wegener’s granulomatosis)
Post-renal Intrinsic Renal Injury

The post-renal damage happens due to the blockage of urine. It is caused when an obstruction is found in the system, thus dominating urine outflow from the Kidney. Some additional reasons include:

  • Posterior urethral valves.
  • Urethral strictures – narrowing of the urethra
  • Bladder obstruction from clots (hemorrhagic cystitis),
  • Formation of ureteral stones.

Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic Renal Failure patient doesn’t show any signs or symptoms till the kidney failure goes up to the last stage. A few symptoms that help in detecting this type of renal failure are:

  • Excessive Blood Stress
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Symptoms of Renal Failure

People with Renal failure or kidney failure generally do not show signs and symptoms during the early stages. The signs and symptoms cannot be predicted till each kidney worsens through the buildup of extra wastes and additional fluid. However, some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Diarrhoea
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Frequent urine
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Abdominal and returned pain
  • Swelling of toes and ankles

How Can You Treat Renal Failure?

Treatment of Acute Renal Failure is to treat the source causing the failure, such as high sugar levels, high blood stress, or a kidney stone.

Whereas, a person suffering from Chronic Renal Failure can only be treated by dialysis or kidney transplant. Dialysis is one of the most popular treatments as this is more economical than a kidney transplant.


Dialysis is a treatment for patients whose kidneys have stopped working. When the kidneys stop working, it does not filter the blood in the way they should, causing a buildup of wastes and toxins. Dialysis functions like your kidneys, helping remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood.

Dialysis is of 2 types:

  1. Hemodialysis: In this type of dialysis, the patient gets the blood filtered 3-4 times a week at a dialysis center.
  2. Peritoneal Dialysis: In this type of dialysis, the patient is given a bag containing a dialysis solution attached to a catheter in the abdominal lining. The solution from the bag flows into the abdominal lining absorbing all the waste products and the extra fluid is then drained back into the bag. This type of dialysis can even be treated at home sometimes.

Kidney Transplant

This technique of curing renal failure is more expensive, where a surgeon has to find a kidney of a patient with the same blood type within a specified time. The donor kidney has to be donated with the donor’s/his guardians’ authority and can be of a deceased or a living person.


Renal failure should be found and treated early. In case it is not identified sooner, it may lead to a condition where kidney transplantation becomes the only solution. Kidney or Renal failure does not happen overnight. It is a gradual loss of kidney function. However, it is important to treat the disease during its early stage in order to avoid unfortunate complications or even death.




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