Acute kidney failure
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Blood enters your kidneys through your renal arteries. Your kidneys remove excess fluid and waste material from your blood through units called nephrons. Each nephron contains a filter (glomerulus) that has a network of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. The glomeruli filter waste products and substances your body needs — such as sodium, phosphorus and potassium — which then pass through tiny tubules. The substances your body needs are reabsorbed into your bloodstream. The waste products flow through the ureters — the tubes that lead to the bladder.
Acute kidney failure occurs when your kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products from your blood. When your kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of wastes may accumulate, and your blood’s chemical makeup may get out of balance.
Acute kidney failure — also called acute renal failure or acute kidney injury — develops rapidly, usually in less than a few days. Acute kidney failure is most common in people who are already hospitalized, particularly in critically ill people who need intensive care.
Acute kidney failure can be fatal and requires intensive treatment. However, acute kidney failure may be reversible. If you’re otherwise in good health, you may recover normal or nearly normal kidney function.
Signs and symptoms of acute kidney failure may include:
Sometimes acute kidney failure causes no signs or symptoms and is detected through lab tests done for another reason.
See your doctor immediately or seek emergency care if you have signs or symptoms of acute kidney failure.
Acute kidney failure can occur when:
Diseases and conditions that may slow blood flow to the kidneys and lead to kidney injury include:
These diseases, conditions and agents may damage the kidneys and lead to acute kidney failure:
Diseases and conditions that block the passage of urine out of the body (urinary obstructions) and can lead to acute kidney injury include:
Acute kidney failure almost always occurs in connection with another medical condition or event. Conditions that can increase your risk of acute kidney failure include:
Potential complications of acute kidney failure include:
Acute kidney failure is often difficult to predict or prevent. But you may reduce your risk by taking care of your kidneys. Try to:
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Acute kidney failure
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