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Kidney Failure Symptoms

Kidney failure may occur due to a number of underlying causes or conditions. In some cases, acute kidney failure may occur suddenly and rapidly, interfering with your kidney's ability to filter waste. Treatment of underlying conditions may reverse kidney failure and restore normal function. Chronic kidney failure, on the other hand, may occur slowly and over a period. In both cases, the result is damage to kidneys, accumulation of toxic fluids, waste matter and electrolytes that can eventually pass into the bloodstream affecting all other organs.

Chronic kidney failure is often irreversible and permanent. Without the aid of dialysis or transplant, kidney failure may turn fatal.

Chronic kidney failure is hard to detect as the signs and symptoms may not show up until it is too late. This makes early detection of kidney failure symptoms in children and teenagers very necessary. Kidney failure symptoms in teenagers and children may occur due to congenital defects, diseases affecting the kidney such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart diseases, prolonged infection, shock or trauma causing damage to kidneys, heart attack or heart failure, toxic poisoning, or drug overdose. Kidney failure symptoms in children may include urinary tract problems such as burning sensation while passing urine, pain or discomfort while urinating, blood in the urine, and increased frequency of urination. Mature kids who are unable to control their urge to urinate or even children who suddenly start bedwetting long after they have ceased the habit may be showing symptoms of kidney failure. Fever and swollen eyes, face, feet, and ankles described as edema may also include kidney failure symptoms in children.

Some common kidney failure symptoms in adults to watch out for include nausea and vomiting, sleeplessness, trouble breathing, fatigue, physical and mental weakness, indigestion, continual itching, swelling or edema at the feet and ankles, increased or decreased frequency of urination.  One highly susceptible group to kidney failure includes patients suffering from diabetes. Not all diabetics maybe prone to kidney failure; however, the stress of filtering waste matter while balancing blood sugar levels may take its toll on the kidneys. Kidney failure signs in diabetics may not be visible until much of the organ function is lost. However, fluid build-up in diabetic patients maybe a cause of alarm and should be treated immediately. Other kidney failure signs in diabetics may include insomnia, loss of appetite, indigestion, fatigue and decreased alertness.

Old age and related ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, urinary tract infections, high blood pressure and cholesterol may result in gradual loss of kidney function. Impending dangers include host of kidney diseases. Kidney failure signs in the elderly include nausea and vomiting, foul breath or complaints of metallic taste in the mouth, uncommon fever, fatigue and lack of appetite, headaches, insomnia, swelling and itching, frequent urination, blood in the urine and discomfort while urinating. For elderly patients with a history of diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, or heart disease any signs of kidney failure need immediate diagnosis and treatment.

Kidney Failure Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment


Loss of kidney function may occur due to sudden or protracted causes including disease, injury, diet and lifestyle habits or substance abuse. Categorized under acute kidney failure or chronic kidney failure, the various causes may reveal if the damage to your kidney is reversible or permanent.

Acute kidney failure may occur due to an accident or trauma, which causes serious damage to the kidneys. Other conditions leading to kidney failure include diseases such as blood pressure, heart disease, a sudden heart attack, cirrhosis of the liver, acute allergic reaction to medications or external factors, serious burn injuries, or dehydration. In all these cases, blood flow to the kidney is slow or suspended and may result in kidney failure. Kidney damage or untimely kidney failure may occur due to prolonged conditions such as untreated infections, thrombosis leading to blood clots, plaque deposits that hinder blood flow due to cholesterol, and ingestion of toxins such as alcohol, drug abuse, and inhaling toxic fumes or heavy metals. Cancer is another factor in the development of acute kidney failure.

Causes of kidney failure in adults: Causes of kidney failure in adults include diabetes (type 1 and 2), high blood pressure, cholesterol, polycystic kidney disease, recurring kidney stone disease, scleroderma, enlarged prostrate, urinary infections, defects or diseases, lupus, glomerulonephritis, and bladder or kidney cancer. Damage to the artery carrying blood to the kidney or renal tube carrying out filtered waste to the urethra may also cause kidney failure in adults.

Causes of kidney failure in diabetics: Diabetes is likely to increase your chances of kidney failure. Patients with diabetes cannot make enough insulin or use it optimally to balance the blood sugar levels in their body. As a long-term effect of diabetes, individuals may suffer from damage to their blood vessels impairing the function of kidney and other organs. As a result, kidneys are unable to filter waste from the body leading to kidney failure in diabetics. Nerve damage caused by uncontrolled diabetes may result in loss of bladder control. Infrequent urination may create ideal conditions for urinary infection, which can further cause kidney failure.

Causes of kidney failure in young adults and children: Kidney failure causes in children may include birth defects in the kidney or urinary tract. A history of polycystic kidneys, which cause fluid retention in the kidneys, may also lead to kidney or prostrate enlargement. Conditions like glomerulosclerosis, which damage your kidneys' ability to filter waste, and damage to blood vessels due to shock, trauma or injury result in kidney failure. Causes of kidney failure in young adults may result from obesity and related diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, cholesterol and high blood pressure. Alcohol or drug abuse is also a leading cause of kidney failure in young adults.


Since chronic kidney failure signs and symptoms are difficult to detect at an early stage, it is important to consult a doctor if you have a history of kidney disease or kidney failure in your family for preventive measures. Kidney failure diagnosis may also help individuals with a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and high cholesterol. Signs of kidney failure such as fluid retention may show up early on and warrant immediate kidney failure diagnosis.

Kidney failure diagnostic tests may include blood and urine tests, ultra sound and other imaging tests, and a kidney biopsy, before your doctor prescribes treatment or medication to deal with specific conditions. Kidney failure blood tests determine if there is increased waste matter in your blood stream, blood sugar levels, and levels of creatinine and urea in the blood sample. Kidney failure lab tests conducted on your urine sample analyze the amount of proteins in your urine and any other abnormalities, which may signify a kidney failure.

Kidney failure diagnosis code: ICD 9 stands for the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision. For patients with diabetes exhibiting signs of kidney failure, it is important to select and register a diabetes and renal failure coding system in the patient's medical record. This helps maintain a billable medical record and enables proper reimbursement of insurance. For instance, kidney failure diagnosis code would read 585.9. Diagnosis of diabetes involves entering a five digit ICD-9 code that reflects the condition of diabetes along with the 5th digit, which reveals the particular manifestation of chronic kidney disease.


Chronic kidney failure treatment involves limiting further kidney damage, identifying and avoiding further risks and complications, and reducing the severity of kidney failure. End stage cure for kidney failure would include dialysis and kidney transplant. However, treating the underlying condition or cause of kidney failure, may help individuals slow down kidney damage. A kidney failure diet may help slow down the irreversible process. Some experts recommend a low protein diet to take the pressure off your kidneys, which work overtime to process protein and filter waste. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist, before you undertake a low protein diet.

Natural remedies for kidney failure:

  • While a low protein diet may reduce the stress on your over worked kidneys, it is also important to choose foods low in potassium and sodium. Reduced salt intake will help individuals suffering from fluid retention.
  • Since chronic kidney disease maybe congenital, hereditary or spring from a host of lifestyle related diseases, prevention is definitely the best cure. Obesity is the number one cause of kidney failure arising from ailments such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension. Treating kidney failure at home can start with simple steps such as a healthy diet and exercise routine.
  • Stay away from smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse. Toxic substances take its toll on our kidneys eventually.
  • Certain medications may stress the kidney, resulting in severe damage or kidney failure. Talk to your doctor about your renal and other conditions and medications you may take for the same. Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers may cause kidney failure, so they should be taken under medical supervision.

Chronic kidney failure is irreversible damage to your organ; however, with proper care and support, you maybe able to live longer without complications, if you follow some of these preventive measures. Early diagnosis and constant tests will help you stay on top of your disease decreasing the chances of fatality.

Submitted on January 16, 2014