Acute kidney injury is also known as acute kidney failure or sometimes acute renal failure. It's a very sudden occurrence usually occurring in two days or less. It is generally reversible if caught quickly and you may not have any permanent damage. Unfortunately, for many, they will suffer permanent damage and the speed by which it is found and treated is the key to limiting the damage done.  When the kidneys fail the potential of severe problems can't be overstated, and treatment is vital. Immediately, waste begins to accumulate and can potentially cause permanent damage. If there is an upside, is that it is most common in people who are already in the hospital.

What is a risk to me?

While this can affect anyone at any time, acute kidney injury generally does affect people over the age of 65. It also occurs most commonly in the intensive care unit, so that certainly helps the outlook if caught quickly. Those who have kidney disease are in a higher risk group as are those with heart disease, liver disease or diabetes.


dolgachov / Getty Images


What Are The Most Common Causes?

Beyond the common chronic diseases listed above those that are most at risk are those that have a present condition that slows the blood flow to the kidneys. In cases where this occurs quickly (and outside of the hospital), acute kidney injury can happen following car accidents and significant traumas where damage to both kidneys occurs at the same time. Additionally, blockages of the kidneys' ureters, essentially drainage tubes, doesn't allow for urine to take the waste from your system.


magicmine / Getty Images


Signs and Symptoms of Acute kidney injury

Once again this condition often occurs in the best possible place...the hospital. This, however, is not always the case. It can manifest itself with symptoms that include: inability to urinate, confusion, seizures, chest pain, nausea, confusion, sudden and persistent fatigue as well as swelling in the ankles, legs and even around the eyes.


arztsamui / Getty Images


When to See a Doctor?

Yesterday is as good of an answer as any. This is not something to leave untreated. This condition is one of the many that hospitals have emergency rooms and why they should be used if you're experiencing kidney pain or one or more symptoms. This is not something that you can tough out. You need treatment immediately and not seeking treatment will have a profound effect on your overall outlook.


MJFelt / Getty Images


What Causes Decreased Blood Flow Leading to Acute kidney injury?

There is no one answer to this question. Loss of fluids from blood loss or continued and severe diarrhea are common causes as is hypotension (low blood pressure) and shock. Additional possibilities include: Heart attack or heart failure, continued overuse of NSAIDs and other drugs used to treat headaches, colds and other health issues, allergic reactions, burns and, injury are all possible causes of acute kidney injury.


Irka / Getty Images


Direct Kidney Damage Causes

Once again there is no single answer to this question either. Infections, diseases like lupus and others like glomerulonephritis which directly affect the kidneys, chemotherapy and contrast dyes used in medical testing, alcohol and drug abuse, and blood disorders all can cause direct damage to the kidneys.


OlegEvseev / Getty Images


What Causes a Blockage in The Urinary Track

Your chances of a correct self-diagnosis and knowing to go to the hospital immediately are increased by the knowledge of conditions that are known to block the passage of urine from your body. You're at extra risk of acute kidney injury is you have: prostate, bladder or cervical cancer, an enlarged prostate, a history of kidney stones, blood clots in the urinary tract and nervous system issues that affect your bladder.


Tigatelu / Getty Images


How is Acute kidney injury diagnosed?

Your doctors will have many tools at their disposal to diagnose acute kidney injury. These include the measuring of urine output and subsequent urinalysis. Blood tests may be used to look at levels of creatinine, urea nitrogen phosphorus, and potassium. A glomerular filtration rate test may be done to determine the level of damage already done. Imaging tests and kidney biopsies may be done in cases suspected to be more severe.


fotoquique / Getty Images


What's the Treatment for Acute kidney injury?

The treatment your doctor employs is truly unique to the individual. There are levels of severity, the time before diagnosis, pre-existing conditions and more that will go into your doctor's decision. You're likely looking at a hospital stay and the speed by which your kidneys recovered to determine the length of stay. Your doctor needs to keep you alive and treat what's causing your acute kidney injury at the same time. In severe cases, this may include dialysis. Early treatment is key.


JohnnyGreig / Getty Images


Preventing Acute Kidney Injury

Sudden conditions are difficult to prevent but living a healthy life is undoubtedly the best prevention. Exercise at least five times a week, eat a low-fat and low-salt diet early in life and continue this practice throughout it. Follow the instructions of your physician when prescribed drugs and heed the recommendations on the box of over-the-counter pain medications.


FatCamera / Getty Images


Popular Now on Facty Health


This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.