Can Acute Kidney Failure be Reversed?

Acute kidney failure - can it be reversed?

Can Acute Kidney Failure be Reversed?Getting an understanding of acute kidney failure starts with an understanding of its closely related counterpart, chronic kidney failure. In chronic cases, the kidneys slowly degrade over the course of life, ultimately leading to renal disease.

While the effects of chronic kidney failure cannot be reversed, the process can be delayed, in an attempt to leave patients with as much kidney function as possible throughout their life. Such conditions are common in men and women, affecting more than 661,000 Americans, while 193,000 Americans continue to live with a successful kidney transplant.

Acute kidney failure, on the other hand, is defined by short-term effects that will dissipate with the use of medication, proper diet, and maintaining fluid intake. At first, the effects are a shock to patients, as the condition can onset quickly, often in the span of less than a week. Luckily, while the extent and duration of recovery depend largely on the underlying causes, most of those who experience AKF do not experience long-term damage, especially for those who are younger.

Can acute kidney failure be reversed? Most definitely. But understanding exactly how to make the most out of your recovery means taking a closer look at information on the causes, treatment, and prevention of AKF.

Causes and symptoms to watch out for

The kidneys are a delicate instrument of the body, responsible for everything from removing excess waste from your body's reservoir of fluids, controlling blood pressure, and making red blood cells. With the onset of Acute Kidney Failure, one or more of these important processes can abruptly shut down, causing major problems for your body. This can happen in a number of different ways.

  • The growth of unwanted bacteria within the kidneys can cause an infection. This will slow or stop the functioning of the organ.
  • Since the kidneys are essentially a filtering mechanism, they can quickly accrue metals, solvents, and even certain types of antibiotics and other medications. These can build up to such an extent that they interfere with the proper functioning of the kidney.
  • Physical damage to the kidney, such as an impact or a puncture can lead to short or long-term damage to the kidney. Depending on the extent of the damage, the effects may or may not be reversible.
  • Blockages can be caused by tumors or kidney stones, which can cause some of the symptoms of AKF, but also lead to infection if left untreated.

Most commonly, Acute Kidney Failure is accompanied by a decrease in urine output. While this may not seem like such a disaster at first, the buildup of waste in your body can lead to serious complications in a short amount of time. Nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, short attention span, and numbness at the extremities can all result from kidney failure.

Finding a Solution

Depending on the cause of Acute Kidney Failure, a specific treatment may be prescribed to reduce symptoms and reverse the effects of the condition. Infections are treatable with antibiotics, and blockages like kidney stones can be passed naturally or through ureteroscopy, a kind of non-invasive surgery.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that the effects Acute Kidney Failure must often be treated alongside the root cause, to avoid serious complications. When the kidneys stop working for an extended period of time, toxins can build up in the blood stream, which need to be removed through dialysis. You may also be prescribed a diet that is low in salt, potassium, and protein, as a way to avoid the buildup of such toxins as you recover.

Staying on Top of your Kidney Health

As Acute Kidney Failure can crop up unexpectedly, prevention can be difficult. However, always monitoring your urine output can be a good way to stay on top of any kidney disorders, and if output slows, or you notice anything strange about your output, it may be wise to call your doctor. Especially if slowed or altered urine output accompanies any of the common symptoms of AKF, seeking medical attention is a good course of action.

Last Reviewed:
June 14, 2017
Last Updated:
October 11, 2017
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