The kidney has many important functions, such as removing wastes and water from the blood, balancing chemicals in the body, releasing hormones, and more.
Kidney failure is a medical condition where the kidney fails to adequately filter toxins and waste products from the blood. Since the kidney is also vital in producing red blood cells, kidney failure is always associated with anaemia. According to Malaysia’s Health Ministry, more than 100,000 Malaysians will be suffering from kidney failure in next 20 years.
There are 2 types of kidney failure – acute and chronic. In acute kidney failure, the failure of the kidney occurs within a short duration whereas chronic kidney failure happens progressively and slowly over months or years. If advanced chronic kidney failure is left untreated, toxins may build up in the body and lead to severe complications, including death.
What are the Risk Factors for Kidney Failure?
The primary driver for the surge of kidney failure in Malaysia is the increase in non-communicable diseases. In most cases, chronic kidney failure is caused by diabetes mellitus. However, about 20-30% of kidney failure is caused by unknown reasons. These may occur due to chronic glomerulonephritis. Other causes include hypertension, obstructive uropathy and polycystic kidney.
What are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure?
Chronic kidney disease is a silent disease, so a patient is usually asymptomatic. However, some symptoms include:
- Leg swelling
- Shortness of breath
How is Kidney Failure Diagnosed?
- Urine test
- Blood test
- Kidney biopsy
What are the Treatment Options for Kidney Failure?
Patients with kidney failure usually require renal replacement therapy, which is a therapy that substitutes the kidney function. The therapy includes:
- Peritoneal dialysis
- Kidney transplantation
How is Kidney Failure Prevented?
- Maintain healthy levels of blood sugar
- Maintain healthy levels of blood pressure
- Avoid prolonged use of pain killers or traditional medicine with unknown ingredients