What is kidney injury?
Kidney injury occurs when your kidneys lose the ability to filter waste from your blood sufficiently.
Your kidneys are pair of organs located toward your lower back. One kidney is on each side of your spine. They filter your blood and remove toxins from your body. Your kidneys send toxins to your bladder. Your body later removes toxins during urination.
How common is kidney injury?
Kidney injury can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of kidney injury?
The common symptoms of kidney injury are:
- Too little urine leaving the body
- Swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet from retention of fluids caused by the failure of your kidneys to eliminate water waste
- Unexplained shortness of breath
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Persistent nausea
- Pain or pressure in your chest
- Seizures or coma in severe cases
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes kidney injury?
People who are most at risk for kidney failure usually suffer from one or more of the following causes:
Loss of blood flow to the kidneys
A sudden loss of blood flow to your kidneys can prompt kidney failure. Some diseases and conditions that cause loss of blood flow to the kidneys include:
- A heart attack
- Heart disease
- Scarring of the liver or liver failure
- A severe burn
- An allergic reaction
- A severe infection, such as sepsis
Blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also limit blood flow.
Urine elimination problems
When your body can’t eliminate urine, toxins build up and overload the kidneys. Some conditions can interfere with urination and possibly lead to kidney failure, including:
- Kidney stones
- An enlarged prostate
- Blood clots within your urinary tract
- Damage to the nerves that control your bladder
Some diseases and conditions may lead to kidney failure, including:
- A blood clot in or around your kidneys
- An overload of toxins from heavy metals
- Drugs and alcohol
- Vasculitis, which is an inflammation of blood vessels
- Lupus, which is an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation of many body organs
- Glomerulonephritis, which is an inflammation of the small blood vessels of the kidneys
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome, which involves the breakdown red blood cells following a bacterial infection, usually of the intestines
- Multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of the plasma cells in your bone marrow
- Scleroderma, which is an autoimmune disease that affects your skin
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, which is a disorder that causes blood clots in small vessels
- Chemotherapy drugs, which are medications that treat cancer and some autoimmune diseases
- Dyes used in some imaging tests
- Certain antibiotics, including aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, amphotericin B, bacitracin, and vancomycin.
- Blood pressure medicines, such as ACE inhibitors (lisinopril and ramipril) or angiotensin receptor blockers (candesartan and valsartan).
What increases my risk for kidney injury?
There are many risk factors for kidney injury, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- A family history of kidney failure
Diagnosis & Treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is kidney injury diagnosed?
There are several tests that can be used to diagnose kidney failure. These include:
- Urinalysis: A urine test to measure red and white blood cells, look for high levels of bacteria, and search for high numbers of cellular casts.
- Urine volume measurements: Measuring urine output.
- Blood samples: Samples of your blood are taken to measure substances that are filtered by your kidneys.
- Imaging: Tests such as ultrasounds, MRI, and CT scans provide images of the kidneys themselves, along with the urinary tract. This allows your doctor to look for blockages or abnormalities in your kidneys.
- Kidney tissue sample: Tissue samples are examined for abnormal deposits, scarring, or infectious organisms.
How is kidney injury treated?
There are several treatments for kidney failure, but the type of treatment needed will vary depending on the reason for your kidney failure. Your doctor can help you determine the best treatment option, which may include:
- Dialysis: Dialysis filters and purifies the blood using a machine. It performs the function of the kidneys.
- Kidney transplant: Another treatment option is a kidney transplant, but there’s usually a long wait to receive a donor kidney that’s compatible with your body.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage kidney injury?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with kidney injury:
- Follow the directions for over-the-counter medications. Taking doses that are too high (even of common drugs such as aspirin) can create high toxin levels in a short amount of time, which can overload your kidneys.
- Limit your exposure to chemicals, such as household cleaners, tobacco, pesticides, and other toxic products.
- Follow your doctor’s advice, always take prescribed medicine as directed
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Kidney Failure. http://www.healthline.com/health/kidney-failure#Overview1. Accessed Mar 17, 2017.
Kidney Failure. http://www.medicinenet.com/kidney_failure/article.htm. Accessed Mar 17, 2017.
At Risk for Kidney Disease? https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/nkdep/learn/causes-kidney-disease/at-risk/Pages/are-you-at-risk.aspx. Accessed Mar 17, 2017.
Review Date: March 19, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019