Do You Know Why A Kidney Fails? Here Are The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Do you know why kidneys fail or stop working that makes a person seek dialysis? Find out in this article.

Written by: Chanchal Sengar Updated at: 2022-04-07 15:57

Kidneys are vital organs of human body. Common kidneys problems include urinary incontinence, fluid retention and fatigue which can be easily administered with medicines but chronic kidney diseases need proper medical attention. A lot of people ignore the initial symptoms of kidney issues that may aggravate leading to kidney(s) failure! Sadly, people do not know much about kidney failure or chronic kidney disease. Through this article, we bring to you all the necessary information related to kidney failure.

What kidneys fail?

According to Dr. Dilip M Babu, Consultant Nephrologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad, kidneys fail when they stop working or do not perform the assigned functions like filtering blood and removing waste material, excess salt and urine from the body. Kidney failure is gradual process that happens over time. Your kidneys slowly lose the ability of blood filtration and elimination of waste from the body.

The two major kidney failure causes are high blood pressure(hypertension) and diabetes. If you have both of these conditions, you are at a high risk of chronic kidney disease.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

In common usage, kidney failure is also called as chronic kidney disease. Talking about kidney failure symptoms, doctor shares that there are no symptoms of early stage renal failure. When the condition worsens, a person may experience these problems:

  • Swelling in legs, feet and ankles
  • Frequent high blood pressure 
  • Weak bones or damage to bones
  • Low haemoglobin levels
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness

How to protect kidneys from kidney failure?

If you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, you must take the following steps to protect your kidneys from failure:

  • Blood pressure control- Since high BP is a risk factor for kidney failure, take your BP and other medicines every day, if your doctor has prescribed them to you.
  • Blood sugar control- Keeping your blood sugar under strict control is crucial if you have diabetes.
  • Changing your diet, if your doctor says you should
  • Quitting smoking, if you smoke
  • Losing weight, if you are overweight

Avoid medicines known as "nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs," or NSAIDs pain killers. Check with your doctor or kidney specialist before starting any new medicines- even over-the-counter ones.

What are the treatments for CKD?

People in the early stages of CKD can take medicines to keep the disease from getting worse. But what happens if kidneys stop working completely?

If your kidneys stop working completely, you can choose between 3 different treatments to take over the job of your kidneys.

#1 Kidney Transplant

You can have kidney transplant surgery which is the best available option. That way, the new kidney can do the job of your own kidneys. If you have a kidney transplant, you will need to take medicines for the rest of your life to keep your body from reacting badly to the new kidney. You only need one kidney to live.

#2 Hemodialysis

You can have your blood filtered by a machine. This treatment is called hemodialysis but many people call it just dialysis. If you choose this approach, you will need to be hooked up to the machine at least 3 times a week for a few hours for the rest of your life. Before you start, you will also need to have surgery to prepare a blood vessel for attachment to the machine called the A-V fistula.

#3 Peritoneal dialysis

You can learn to use a special fluid that has to be piped in and out of your abdomen every day. This treatment is called peritoneal dialysis. If you choose this type of dialysis, you will need surgery to have a tube implanted in your belly. Then you will have to learn how to pipe the fluid in and out through that tube.

Is kidney failure treatment without dialysis possible?

Stage 5 kidney failure will require lifelong dialysis or kidney Transplant. Out of these two options, a kidney transplant is the best treatment available as patients after a kidney transplant will have better survival and quality of life.

How to treat kidney failure at different stages?

There are five stages of chronic kidney disease. The initial four stages are managed with supportive medicines like medicines for control of blood pressure and blood sugar. The management of kidney failure includes treatment of reversible causes of kidney dysfunction and preventing or slowing the progression of kidney disease. Other medicines used to treat complications of the loss of kidney function include disorders of water and electrolyte balance, such as excess water, high potassium, metabolic acidosis, and excess phosphorus as well as medicines for symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and bone disease.


You and your doctor will need to work together to find a treatment that's right for you. Kidney transplant surgery is usually the best option for most people. But often there are no kidneys available for transplant then you can register with the Jeevandan program of organ donation.

Image credits- freepik


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