Kidney Failure Acute and Chronic Kidney Disease

The healthy functioning of kidneys could be affected due to a number of causes including diabetes, a condition associated with presence of high levels of blood sugar. This condition is known to slow down the kidney’s efficiency to filter blood of any waste materials produced in the body which can worsen over a period of time. High blood pressure is another major reason for developing kidney related problems which might grow complex after a certain period. Existing over a long term, these conditions can slowly reduce the function of kidneys leading to Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD.

On the other hand, a relatively sudden event resulting in reduced functioning of kidneys can be classified as acute renal failure or ARF. If one sustains an injury or undergoes a major surgery resulting in blood loss, it could potentially be responsible for kidney related problems. Dehydration and indiscriminate use of medicines could be some of the other causes leading to kidney diseases. It is important to understand what caused the disease and for how long it has been in progress to be able to recommend a suitable plan of treatment.

Usually, it is relatively easier to treat and cure acute renal failure as compared with chronic kidney disease. This is because where acute renal failure results due to sudden loss of blood or other causes, chronic kidney disease is a result of prolonged health conditions which progressively damage the functioning of kidneys, making it more difficult to achieve complete recovery. Acute renal failure is also easier to diagnose due to development of symptoms like electrolyte imbalance, an obstruction in the urinary tract or rapid pulse and lightheadedness caused by dehydration.

It can be somewhat more difficult to diagnose chronic kidney disease at an early stage because usually, the symptoms associated with condition do not become visible until after the condition has been in existence for quite some time. Anemia and hyperphosphatemia are some of the conditions which might accompany chronic kidney disease in the longer term and are considered symptoms for the same. There are a number of factors which experts consider to diagnose acute renal failure, including a sudden increase in creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels.

A detailed medical evaluation is necessary for proper diagnosis of the condition and establishing if the condition can be classified as acute renal failure or chronic kidney disease. Ultrasound of kidneys might also be required to find out the nature of the condition and differentiate acute and chronic kidney disease. If the condition is diagnosed at an early stage, there are higher chances of arresting the growth of condition to decrease the possibility of the condition resulting in end-stage renal disease which can be difficult to deal with.

Dr. Vikram Kalra MBBS - MD (Medicine), Mumbai, DM(Nephrology, AIIMS)
Nephrologist & Renal Transplant Physician

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