The diagnosis of kidney failure usually is made by blood tests measuring BUN, creatinine, and glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Treatment of the underlying cause of kidney failure may return kidney function to normal. Lifelong efforts to control blood pressure and diabetes may be the best way to prevent chronic kidney disease and its progression to kidney failure. As we age, kidney function gradually decreases over time. If the kidneys fail completely, the only treatment options available may be dialysis or transplant.
What are the signs and symptoms of kidney failure?
Initially, kidney failure may be not produce any symptoms (asymptomatic). As kidney function decreases, the symptoms are related to the inability to regulate water and electrolyte balances, clear waste products from the body, and promote red blood cell production.
If unrecognized or untreated, the following symptoms of kidney failure may develop into life-threatening circumstances.
- • Lethargy
- • Weakness
- • Shortness of breath
- • Generalized swelling
- • Generalized weakness due to anemia
- • Loss of appetite
- • Fatigue
- • Congestive heart failure
- • Metabolic acidosis
- • High blood potassium (hyperkalemia)
How is kidney failure diagnosed?
Often, a patient is seen for another medical condition and the diagnosis of kidney failure is a consequence of the patient's disease or injury. In patients with chronic kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure, or another related medical condition his or her medical care team most likely monitors kidney function as part of the his or her routine long-term medical care plan.
Diagnosis of kidney failure can be confirmed by blood tests such as BUN, creatinine, and GFR; that measure the buildup of waste products in the blood.Urine tests Urine tests may be ordered to measure the amount of protein, detect the presence of abnormal cells, or measure the concentration of electrolytes.
Other tests are used to diagnose the type of kidney failure such as:
- • Abdominal ultrasound
- • Kidney biopsy