Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Acute Kidney Failure Treatment?
At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our experienced nephrologists offer a wide range of diagnostic methods and treatment options for patients suffering from acute kidney failure. Our specialists work closely with patients to choose a personalized treatment plan that will best suit their individual needs.
Acute kidney failure, also known as acute renal failure (ARF) or acute kidney injury (AKI), occurs when the kidneys lose their capacity to filter toxins and other waste substances found in the blood. As a result, these substances remain in the blood and accumulate in dangerous amounts. This condition develops rapidly, between a few hours to a few days. It is more common in patients who are already suffering from other severe conditions, for whom the failure of the kidneys requires intensive care and treatment, otherwise, it can become life-threatening. For people who have generally good health, renal failure is reversible.
For most patients affected by acute kidney failure, treatment is done in a hospital setting. Because most cases of kidney failure occur as a result of an underlying disease, the treatments used will vary and will depend on the severity of the patient’s condition. The most important factor for a nephrologist, when deciding which treatment to apply, is the identification of the underlying problem that caused the kidney failure in the first place. The second most important factor doctors consider when treating kidney failure is the prevention of any complications that might appear as a result of high levels of toxicity in the blood.
Some of the most common treatments and drugs employed by specialists when treating kidney failure are:
Fluid Control Treatments »
Potassium Control Medications »
Calcium Medications »
There are three types of acute renal failure:
Post-renal Kidney Failure »
Acute Intrinsic Kidney Failure »
Acute Prerenal Kidney Failure »
Symptoms of Acute Kidney Failure
Patients who suffer from kidney failure report the following symptoms:
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Swelling of the extremities (legs, feet, and ankles)
- Nausea and stomach sickness
- Shortness of breath
- Pressure in the chest area, or pain
- High blood pressure
- Unpleasant breath smell
- Weak urine flow
Diagnosis of Acute Kidney Failure
When a patient shows signs of kidney failure, doctors usually recommend the following tests:
- Blood tests: These tests will reveal levels of creatinine and urea, two substances that can indicate the condition of the kidneys, present in the patient’s blood.
- Urine tests: A urine output measurement test, meant to measure the amount of urine eliminated daily, can help doctors determine whether or not the patient is suffering from kidney failure. Also, analyzing the urine, through a procedure called urinalysis, is very effective and reveals any abnormalities characteristic of kidney failure.
- Imaging tests: Ultrasound tests and CT scans can be recommended by the doctor to see what the patient’s kidneys look like.
- Biopsy: In some cases, the doctor may want to have a biopsy performed on a kidney tissue sample in order to be able to give a correct diagnosis.
Risk Factors for Acute Kidney Failure
The most common risk factors for acute kidney failure are other underlying conditions that prevent the kidneys from functioning correctly. Some of these conditions are:
Causes of Acute Kidney Failure
There are three main causes for the development of kidney failure: insufficient blood flow to the kidneys, kidney damage, and urinary obstructions.
Insufficient blood flow to the kidneys can occur as a result of certain conditions that affect normal blood flow such as:
Direct kidney damage occurs as a result of one or more of the following conditions:
- Obstruction in the kidney’s veins and arteries
- Blockages in the kidney’s blood flow due to cholesterol deposits
- Glomerulonephritis, inflammation of the kidney’s filtration mechanism
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome, which consists of the premature damage of red blood cells
- Lupus, an auto-immune disease that can cause glomerulonephritis
- Chemotherapy and antibiotic treatments
- Alcohol and drugs usage
Urinary tract obstruction happens when the elimination of urine becomes impossible due to one of the following conditions:
- Prostate inflammation
- Kidney stones
- Different types of cancer, such as prostate cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, bladder cancer, among others
- Blood clots that obstruct the urinary tract
Acute kidney failure cannot be cured by using alternative medicine alone, as it is an extremely severe condition that requires immediate medical attention. However, certain alternative treatments can be useful in preventing kidney failure and in protecting the kidneys, such as:
- Asparagus is considered to be extremely beneficial for the urinary system, as it is rich in natural enzymes that can have purifying qualities. Additionally, consuming asparagus on a daily basis can improve urinary functions by dissolving some of the salts and acids that form kidney stones.
- Garlic has always been considered one of nature’s greatest antibacterial and antioxidant plants. It also contains a certain substance called allicin that has been known to treat high blood pressure and diabetes. Furthermore, according to some recent studies, the substances found in garlic can have an extremely beneficial effect on the kidneys.
- Watermelon has three main qualities that make it beneficial for kidney functions: it is low in phosphorus and potassium, it is mostly made of water, and has a diuretic effect, helping the kidneys eliminate toxins. However, watermelon is not recommended for diabetics, as it is very high in natural sugars.
- Homeopathy is another alternative method used to treat kidney failure. This type of treatment focuses on treating the whole body, instead of just the affected organ. The homeopathic medicines are carefully selected according to certain conditions. However, homeopathy is a pseudoscience, and should never be tried without talking to a medical doctor first.
- Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique where small needles are inserted into the skin on various areas of the body. It is considered an alternative way of preventing kidney disease. The exact mechanism of this ancient technique is not fully understood, but it is thought that by puncturing certain points on the body, signals are sent to the nervous system.
Acute renal failure is not a disease that can easily be predicted or prevented, but there are certain things you can do to protect your kidneys, such as:
Pay extra attention when taking over-the-counter medications: Certain medications, especially those with anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving properties can be dangerous for your kidneys, especially when used excessively or if you already suffer from hypertension or diabetes.
Discuss with your doctor: In order to effectively prevent kidney disease, you should visit your doctor regularly, especially if you are susceptible to kidney disorders due to your family history or due to underlying diseases.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Having a healthy lifestyle is not an easy task, but taking certain measures can greatly improve your health. Stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet low in sodium and fat, and avoid alcohol. These are all important steps in improving your lifestyle and avoiding kidney damage.
Do you suspect you might suffer from acute kidney failure? You can always learn more about renal problems and how to treat and cure them by getting in touch with our nephrologists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.