Renal failure, also known as acute kidney failure, occurs when your kidneys stop filtering waste products from your blood. The Mayo Clinic advises that renal failure usually occurs rapidly, generally within a day or two.
Left untreated, or misdiagnosed, renal failure can quickly lead to death.
Symptoms of renal failure include the following:
- Decreased output of urine
- Swelling in your feet, ankles or legs
- Chest pain or pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
Keep in mind, however, that renal failure sometimes presents no symptoms whatsoever. In this case, only appropriate tests can determine its occurrence. Consequently, do not hesitate to go to the emergency room if you experience any of the above symptoms or if something just “feels off.” The sooner a qualified physician examines and tests you, the better your chances of minimizing or reversing the damage already done to your kidneys.
Your risk of renal failure increases if you have one of the following:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Hypertension, i.e., high blood pressure
- Peripheral artery disease
- Heart failure
It goes without saying that renal failure quickly causes kidney damage, which, in turn, can lead to death. This is why it is so important that you receive the intense treatment you need as quickly as possible. If your kidneys become permanently damaged, you may require ongoing dialysis from that point forward.
At the very least, signs of renal failure require a major lifestyle change with regard to healthy eating and minimal alcohol consumption. You will also need to work closely with your doctor to manage your kidney or other chronic disease and prevent kidney deterioration to the greatest extent possible.