What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure?

The signs and symptoms of kidney failure include a decrease in urine output, fluid retention, swelling, drowsiness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and in severe cases, chest pain, seizure, or coma. Though a decrease in urine output is a common sign of kidney failure, it may not be a marked decrease. Fluid retention is the most noticeable sign of kidney failure, and swelling of the feet, ankles, or legs as a result of the fluid build-up is generally obvious.

Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys lose their ability to remove excess fluid and waste from the blood stream. Kidney failure can happen suddenly as a result of trauma or injury, after a complicated or extensive surgery, or when the blood flow to the kidneys is disrupted. This is called acute kidney failure and often happens to patients who are already hospitalized. As opposed to chronic kidney failure, which occurs gradually over time as a secondary result to a primary disease or condition, acute kidney failure is reversible.

Kidney failure requires medical attention. If early signs of kidney failure go unnoticed, waste begins to build up inside the body and can be fatal. If a person who is diabetic, has high blood pressure, has had recent major surgery, or has had a heat stroke stops having urine output or begins retaining fluid, he or she should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Treatment for kidney failure involves treating any underlying conditions that might be damaging the kidneys, and then treating the symptoms of kidney failure while the kidneys heal. In most cases, a change in dietary habits is necessary. In some cases, dialysis, which is a way of removing excess toxins from the body mechanically, may be necessary. Dialysis might be temporary for acute kidney failure, but chronic kidney failure may require life-long dialysis if a kidney transplant fails or is not an option. If you suspect damage to your kidneys or have signs of kidney failure, you should talk to your family doctor or make an appointment with a nephrologist, which is a medical doctor specially trained to deal with diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.