A patient that has signs and symptoms of kidney failure may have to have specific test and procedures run for confirmation of the diagnosis. These may include but not be limited to twenty-four-hour urine output, urinalysis, bun and creatine levels, kidney ultrasound, and kidney biopsies. All of these tests will give your physician information that will allow him to make an educated diagnosis.
Kidney failure treatment initially requires a hospital stay. Mainly patients with acute kidney failure are usually already inpatients. The time spent in the hospital varies depending on the cause of kidney failure and the effectiveness of the treatments the patient receives. Another factor is how quickly the kidneys heal. In select cases, some patients are able to completely recover in their homes. The main factor in successful treatment of kidney failure is for the doctor to discover the cause what injured the damaged the kidneys. This can be from either a chronic illness or an injury. The treatment options are chosen from what has caused the damage to the kidneys causing them to fail. Preventing complications while the kidneys are healing is very important also.
If the kidney failure is caused by a fluid deficiency in the blood the doctor may prescribe intravenous fluids. If kidney failure is from too much fluid in the blood causing edema in a patients extremities the doctor will prescribe medications like diuretics to make the body excrete excess fluid. The proper balance of fluid in the bloodstream is the key to healthy kidney function. If a patient’s kidneys are not filtering potassium from the blood calcium glucose or polystyrene may be required to assist with returning potassium to normal levels. Elevated potassium can affect the heart and muscles as well as the kidneys. Calcium levels must remain stable also while in kidney failure is a priority also. Some patients require an infusion of calcium while in kidney failure. Dialysis is used to remove toxins from the blood when the patient has chronic or end stage kidney failure. Dialysis also assists in maintaining potassium and calcium levels in the blood. It also removes excess fluid from the bloodstream. Doctors usually try to exhaust all other treatment options before using dialysis. While in dialysis a machine pumps blood out of the body and filters it through a fake kidney known as a dialyzer. The blood is then returned to the patient’s body after being filtered.
While in kidney failure it is recommended that the patient follow a certain diet to allow the kidneys to heal and decrease the extra work they must perform. While in kidney failure patients are followed by a dietician to help them choose proper food choices for a renal diet. This renal diet is recommended by dieticians for all patients in renal failure. Patients in renal failure should always choose food low in potassium, avoid foods that have added salt, and limit phosphorus rich foods. Convenience foods such as frozen dinners, canned meats, and processed foods are not recommended for renal failure patients.
It is important to notify your healthcare professional as soon as the person develops signs or symptoms of renal failure. The earlier renal failure is addressed the better the chances are of kidney failure reversal. A nephrologist is usually preferred to care for patients in renal failure.