Acute Kidney Injury

What is Acute Kidney Injury?

The kidneys in your body filter your blood to remove the waste and water from blood, maintain your blood pressure, clean the blood and stimulate your bone marrows to produce blood. Therefore, the kidneys play a pivotal role in your day-to-day life. In acute kidney injury, your kidneys are damaged and cease to function properly. The complications that arise from acute kidney injury could range from minor loss of kidney function to complete failure of the kidneys. Although the name suggests that it is an injury due to a physical blow to the kidneys, it usually happens as a result of other serious illnesses. Acute kidney failure is often seen in older people with other complications.

If diagnosed in the early stages, your doctor can treat you to avoid complications later on. In case of delayed diagnosis, the level of salts and chemicals in blood will be abnormally high, owing to malfunctioning kidneys. This will affect not only your kidneys, but also the functioning of other organs. In case of a complete kidney failure, it is necessary to provide external aid from a dialysis machine. If ignored, acute kidney injury leads to death.

Symptoms

Although symptoms may not be clearly perceivable in the early stages of the disease, as the condition worsens, there could be symptoms like –

  • Production of lesser quantity of urine
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Slight back pain
  • Confusion
  • Oedema – Building up of fluids in the body

Causes

Usually, acute kidney injury is the result of decreased flow of blood into your kidneys. The cause for this decrease in volume of blood could be –

  • Heart failure – The heart itself pumps out lesser blood
  • Liver failure
  • Low blood volume – There is not much blood in the body, because of bleeding, diarrhea or dehydration
  • Blood vessel problems – Blockages and inflammation of blood vessels inside the kidneys
  • Kidney stones
  • An enlarged prostate gland in the kidneys
  • Tumour in the pelvis area
  • Glomerulonephritis – Kidney problems due to infections, allergy to medications and radiations

Risks

You could be at a risk of acute kidney injury if you are –

  • Above 65 years of age
  • Have another kidney related illness
  • Have long-term diseases like heart failure
  • Diabetic
  • Prone to blockages in the urinary tract
  • Administered medication like ibuprofen or blood pressure drugs or ACE inhibitors or diuretics

Prevention

To prevent the chances of acute kidney injury, make healthy lifestyle a priority. Be extra cautious when you take over-the-counter medications such as painkillers and always avoid their excessive usage. If you have problems like high blood pressure or diabetes, ensure corrective measures like dietary modifications and regular moderate exercises.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, your nephrologist diagnoses acute kidney injury using the following tests - 

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