Health A-Z

Kidney Failure

Clinical Definition

Kidney failure is often the final stage of chronic kidney disease, and it’s the point where kidneys can no longer do their job of eliminating waste products from the body. Diabetes and hypertension can impair kidney function, leading to chronic kidney disease (CKD). When CKD develops, the focus is on managing it with medication and a special diet, but if the condition progresses too much, kidney dialysis or a transplant may be needed.

In Our Own Words

Kidney failure, also known as renal failure, can be acute or chronic. Acute renal failure happens quickly, often the result of injury, toxicity or not enough blood flowing to the kidneys. More commonly, kidney failure is chronic and the result of a steady decline in function due to chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Kidney failure is often the last stage of CKD, as the kidneys have been damaged and cannot function well in eliminating wastes from the body. Wastes can then build up in the blood. Those with diabetes and high blood pressure are more likely to get CKD. Once CKD is diagnosed, medication and a special diet are used to manage it.

If the disease worsens, a dialysis treatment that consists of a machine to clean the blood may be needed, or a transplant may be required. Dialysis cannot cure kidney disease, only treat it.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Frequent urination

Related entries

View Terms Beginning with "L"
Follow us on Facebook for useful advice on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.