Chronic renal failure occurs when kidney function decreases gradually over time. This condition can be triggered by various serious diseases. Therefore, proper treatment needs to be done so that complications do not occur in other organs of the body.
Chronic renal failure is often detected too late because kidney damage usually occurs gradually and does not cause symptoms at the beginning of the suffer. Symptoms of this disease usually only appear when the decline in kidney function is already quite severe.
Symptoms can be a little urination or even urine not coming out at all, constant itching, drastic weight loss, muscle cramps, and swollen legs.
What is Chronic Renal Failure?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) or chronic renal failure (CRF) is a condition where kidney function gradually declines due to kidney damage. Medically, chronic renal failure is defined as a decrease in the rate of filtration of the kidneys for 3 months or more.
Kidneys function to filter waste and excess fluid from the blood before being discharged through urine fluid. Every day, both kidneys filter about 120-150 liters of blood, and produce about 1-2 liters of urine.
Inside each kidney, there is a filter unit or nephron consisting of glomeruli and tubules. Glomerulus filter fluids and waste to be removed, and prevents the release of blood cells and large molecules in the form of proteins.
Furthermore, when the blood passes through the tubular filter unit, the minerals the body needs are re-filtered while the rest is disposed of as waste.
Chronic Renal Failure Risk Factors
There are several things that can increase the risk of chronic kidney failure, among others:
- Age. Due to the increasing age, the risk of this disease also increases.
- Tribes. Those of African, American, and Native American descent are at higher risk compared to other races.
- Gender. Generally, men have a higher risk of developing this disease.
- Family History. Family history is also one of the triggering factors for diabetes and hypertension that end in chronic renal failure.
- Frequent Consumption of Foods High in Protein and Fat. Consumption of foods high in protein and fat can increase the risk of kidney failure.
- Use of Certain Types of Drugs. It is good to discontinue the use of certain medications that can damage the kidneys, for example the analgesic group (painkillers).
Chronic Renal Failure Causes
Chronic renal failure can be caused by other health conditions that burden the kidneys and can be a result of some diseases. Some health conditions that can cause chronic kidney disease are:
- High blood pressure, which over time can put a strain on the kidneys and inhibit the normal functioning of the kidneys.
- Diabetes, because the amount of sugar that exceeds the normal limit in the blood can cause damage to the filter that is in the kidneys.
- High cholesterol, which can lead to a buildup of fatty deposits in the blood vessels that provide the blood supply to the kidneys.
- Infection of the kidneys.
- Inhibition of urine flow, such as kidney stones or enlargement of the pros**tate.
- Heart disease
- Pyelonephritis or recurrent kidney infection
- Inflammation of the kidneys due to lupus
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
Chronic Renal Failure Symptoms
Symptoms of chronic renal failure appear gradually, over a period of several months or several years. In general, there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease until it enters an advanced stage. Here’s the explanation:
Early symptoms of chronic kidney failure disease
- Loss of appetite
- Itching of the skin constantly
- Skin becomes dry
- Weight loss for no apparent reason.
Symptoms of advanced chronic renal failure
- Darker or lighter skin than usual
- Bone pain
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking or staying alert
- Numbness in the limbs
- Swelling of the feet, hands and ankles
- Twitching and cramping in the muscles
- Bad breath
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent hiccups
- Menstrual cycle disorders
- Urinate more or less frequently than usual
- Shortness of breath
- Severe fatigue
- Sleeplessness (insomnia)
- Se**xual dysfunction.
Chronic Renal Failure Complications
If you suffer from chronic kidney failure, the condition can affect almost every part of the body. In fact, there are some possible complications if the disease is not treated immediately.
High uric acid (gout)
In most cases, chronic renal failure that is not handled properly can increase uric acid to cause gout. This can happen because uric acid is filtered by the kidneys and when kidney function is damaged, uric acid also increases.
In addition to uric acid, another complication of chronic renal failure is anemia. Anemia in this disease is caused by a lack of EPO (erythropoietin) which makes the bone marrow produce fewer red blood cells.
If you are deficient in red blood cells, the body does not get enough oxygen. Anemia in kidney failure patients can also occur because they lose blood while undergoing hemodialysis and do not get enough nutrients.
Acidosis is a condition when the body contains too much acidic pH and can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. This condition can occur in patients with chronic renal failure because the kidneys are not able to filter the blood properly.
Mineral and bone disorders
For patients with chronic renal failure may often experience mineral and bone disorders. Because, the role of the kidneys that cannot balance the level of phosphate in the body can be harmful to the bones.
If the body is overused and deficient in vitamin D, the body tries to fix the problem by releasing parathyroid hormones.
The release of this hormone will draw calcium from the bones and balance the substances present in the blood. However, this loss of calcium turns out to have an impact on bone health.
Heart disease can cause kidney disease and this also applies to the contrary. In fact, heart disease is the most common cause of death in people undergoing dialysis.
Malfunctioning kidneys make the hormonal system work hard to keep the blood supply to the kidneys sufficient. The condition also makes the heart have to pump harder to cause heart disease.
Hyperkalemia is a condition when the body has too much potassium in the blood. This condition can occur in patients with chronic renal failure considering the organ is unable to filter out the extra potassium in the blood.
Fluid buildup, or retention, is a common complication of chronic kidney disease. If the kidneys do not function, these nut-shaped organs cannot secrete excess fluid and let it accumulate in the body.
If this is allowed, the lungs can be filled with fluid, the risk of heart attack increases, until blood pressure increases drastically. Therefore, kidney failure patients need to control their fluid needs so as not to experience these complications.
Chronic Renal Failure Treatment
Chronic renal failure cannot be cured. However, the doctor will provide several treatments to prevent complications while improving the quality of life of the sufferer. Such handling includes:
Handling the disease that triggers it
If chronic kidney failure is caused by a certain disease, the first treatment given is to control the disease that triggers it.
For example, in the case of chronic renal failure triggered by diabetes, the doctor will ask the patient to control blood sugar levels and prescribe diabetes medications. The reason is, high blood sugar levels also contribute to kidney damage.
Chronic kidney failure can cause a variety of serious complications, such as heart disease, fractures, fluid buildup or edema, hypertension, and hyperkalemia. Therefore, in order to minimize this risk, the doctor will prescribe certain medications, according to the patient’s health condition.
Medications that can be prescribed include captopril to lower blood pressure, simvastatin to lower cholesterol levels, as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements to improve bone health.
The doctor will also advise the patient to be on a special diet for people with kidney disease. The recommended diet is to limit the intake of protein, salt, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. The application of this diet aims to prevent kidney function from decreasing.
Dialysis or dialysis
The next treatment of chronic renal failure is dialysis or dialysis. Dialysis is performed to replace kidney function that has decreased or damaged.
This procedure can cause side effects in the form of itchy skin and muscle cramps. However, patients will usually be given medications to relieve these symptoms.
In case of end-stage chronic renal failure, the doctor will advise the patient to undergo a kidney transplant.
This procedure aims to replace damaged kidney organs with healthy kidneys, so that kidney function can return to normal and improve the quality of life of the sufferer.
Even so, kidney transplantation can also cause serious complications, such as blood clots, infections, to heart attacks or strokes. Therefore, this action also requires special preparation to prevent complications.
If you are at high risk of chronic kidney failure, having regular medical checkups with the doctor is somewhat detectable early on. That way, proper treatment can be done according to the cause and the risk of complications can be minimized.