Kidney failure symptoms, causes, types and associated risks

Kidney failure causes and symptoms

Kidney failure is happening when our kidneys are losing their ability to filter waste from our blood sufficiently. We know that our kidneys are pair of organs which are located toward our lower back. Also we know that one kidney is on each side of our spine. Kidneys are responsible for filtering our blood and also they are removing toxins from our bodies. Our kidneys are sending the toxins top our bladder. Our body latter removes toxins during urination. There are many factors which can interfere with out kidney health and function such as:

  • Kidney trauma [1]
  • Severe dehydration [2]
  • Certain acute and chronic diseases
  • Toxic exposure to environmental pollutants [3]

Our bodies are becoming overloaded with toxins if our kidneys cannot do their regular job. This can lead to kidney failure and it can be life – threatening condition if you left it untreated.

Symptoms of kidney failure

There are many different symptoms which can be signs of kidney failure. In some cases there are not present symptoms, but usually people who have kidney failure will see a few signs of this disease. Here are the possible symptoms:

  • Seizures
  • Pain or pressure in your chest
  • Confusion
  • Persistent nausea
  • Excessive drowsiness or fatigue
  • Unexplained shortness of breath
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and feet from retention of fluids caused by the failure of your kidneys to eliminate water waste
  • A reduced amount of urine
  • A coma

Kidney failure causes and symptoms

Kidney failure

Types of kidney failure: There are 5 different types of kidney failure and they include:

  • Acute prerenal kidney failure: When there is insufficient blood to your kidneys can cause acute prerenal kidney failure. Our kidneys cannot filter from the blood without enough blood flow. This type of kidney failure can usually be cured when the cause for the decreased blood flow is discovered.
  • Acute intrinsic kidney failure: This condition can be caused by direct trauma to your kidneys such as an accident or physical impact.
  • Chronic prerenal kidney failure: When there is not enough blood flow to your kidneys for extended period, then your kidneys begin to shrink and they lose their ability to function.
  • Chronic intrinsic kidney failure: This condition is happening when there is a long – term damage to your kidneys which is due to intrinsic kidney disease.
  • Chronic post – renal kidney failure: This is a long – term blockage of the urinary tract which prevents urination and it causes eventual kidney damage.

Causes for kidney failure

People, who have a risk of getting kidney failure, usually are suffering from one or more of the following causes:

  1. Urine elimination problems: When our bodies cannot eliminate urine, then toxins build up and overload our kidneys. There are some cancers which can block the urine passageways. These cancers include: bladder, cervical, colon and prostate cancer. Also there are other conditions which can interfere with urination and possibly lead to kidney failure [4] and they include:
  • Damage to the nerves that control your bladder
  • Blood clots within your urinary tract
  • An enlarged prostate
  • Kidney stones
  1. Loss of blood flow to the kidneys: A sudden loss of blood flow to your kidneys can lead to kidney failure. [5] Here are some diseases and conditions which can cause loss of blood flow to your kidneys:
  • A severe infection, such as sepsis
  • An allergic reaction
  • A severe burn
  • Dehydration
  • Scarring of the liver or liver failure
  • Heart disease
  • A heart attack

Anti – inflammatory medications and blood pressure can also limit blood flow.

  1. Other causes: There are some conditions and diseases which can lead to kidney failure such as:
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Dyes used in some imaging tests
  • Chemotherapy drugs, which are medications that treat cancer and some autoimmune diseases [6]
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, which is a disorder that causes blood clots in small vessels [7]
  • Scleroderma, which is an autoimmune disease that affects your skin [8]
  • Multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of plasma cells in your bone marrow [9]
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome. It involves the breakdown red blood cells following a bacterial infection, usually of the intestines
  • Glomerulonephritis, which is an inflammation of the small blood vessels of the kidneys
  • Lupus, which is an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation of many body organs [10]
  • Vasculitis, which is an inflammation of the blood vessels [11]
  • Drugs and alcohol [12]
  • An overload of toxins from heavy metals [12]
  • Infection [13]
  • A blood clot in or around your kidneys [14]


[1] Perkins ZB, Captur G, Bird R, et al. Trauma induced acute kidney injury. PLoS One. 2019;14(1):e0211001.

[2] Roncal-Jimenez C, Lanaspa MA, Jensen T, et al. Mechanisms by which dehydration may lead to chronic kidney disease. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2015;66(suppl 3):10-3.

[3] Afsar B, Afsar RE, Kanbay A, et al. Air pollution and kidney disease: review of current evidence. Clinical Kidney Journal. 2019;12(1):19-32.

[4] Dirks J, Remuzzi G, Horton S, et al. Chapter 36: Diseases of the kidney and the urinary system. In Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries (2nd ed). 2006.

[5] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Heart disease & kidney disease. Retrieved from

[6] Jones DP, Spunt SL, Green D, Springate JE. Renal late effects in patients treated for cancer in childhood: A report from the children’s oncology group. Pediatric Blood & Cancer. 2008;51(6):724–31.

[7] Tsai HM. The kidney in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Minerva Medica. 2007;98(6):731–47.

[8] Shanmugam VK, Steen VD. Renal disease in scleroderma: an update on evaluation, risk stratification, pathogenesis and management. Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 2012;24(6):669–76.

[9] Katagiri D, Noiri E, Hinoshita F. Multiple myeloma and kidney disease. The Scientific World Journal. 2013.

[10] Yale University. Drug shows promise in reversing kidney damage caused by lupus. Science Daily. 2020. Retrieved from

[11] Walters GD, Willis NS, Craig JC. Interventions for renal vasculitis in adults. A systematic review. BMC Nephrology. 2010.

[12] Crowe AV, Howse M, Bell GM, Henry JA. Substance abuse and the kidney. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine. 2000;93(3):147-52.

[13] Barbier O, Jacquillet G, Tauc M, et al. Effect of heavy metals on, and handling by, the kidney. Nephron Physiology. 2005;99:105-10.

[14] Prasad N, Patel MR. Infection-induced kidney diseases. Frontiers in Medicine (Lausanne). 2018;5:327.


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