Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys lose their ability to
function. To treat kidney failure effectively, it is important to know whether
kidney disease has developed suddenly (acute) or over the long term (chronic).
Many conditions, diseases, and medicines can create situations that lead to
acute and chronic kidney disease. Acute renal failure is more commonly
reversible than chronic kidney failure.
Glomerulosclerosis refers to scarring or hardening of the glomeruli -- blood vessels located in the kidneys. The glomeruli filter the blood as it passes through the kidneys. They remove waste fluids that then leave the body as urine.
Damaged glomeruli can't perform their job adequately. As a result, large amounts of protein from the blood leak into the urine rather than remaining in the bloodstream. This leads to a condition called proteinuria.
Glomerulosclerosis can affect children and adults...
Symptoms of decreased kidney function, such as
fluid buildup or
electrolyte imbalance, are more likely to develop with
acute renal failure, regardless of how long the kidney has been malfunctioning.
Symptoms may reflect the actual cause of the kidney problem.
An obstruction in the urinary tract may cause
pain in the side or lower back (flank pain), blood in the urine, or reduced
Dehydration may cause extreme thirst; lightheadedness
or faintness; a weak, rapid pulse; and other symptoms.
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease may not develop
until very little kidney function remains. Other problems may
develop with chronic kidney disease, such as
anemia and increased levels of phosphates in the blood
(hyperphosphatemia), along with complications caused by kidney failure. These
complications often do not develop until kidney disease has been present for
Most cases of acute renal failure occur in people who are already in
the hospital for other reasons. In these people, acute renal failure is usually
diagnosed when routine tests show a sudden increase in
blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels. A buildup of these
waste products in the blood points to a loss of kidney function. Your doctor
will compare these levels to previous tests to find out if kidney disease is
acute or chronic.
ultrasound of the kidneys also may help determine
whether kidney problems are acute or chronic. Normal-sized kidneys may be
present in either condition, but when both kidneys are smaller than normal,
chronic kidney disease is usually the problem.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
May 10, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 10, 2011
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