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Chronic Renal Failure (Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Chronic Renal Failure?

Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body.

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you may have few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired.

Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.

Chronic Renal Failure is also known as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Chronic Renal Failure belongs under the category of Kidney Disease. Generally Male, Female are the victim of the Chronic Renal Failure. Seriousness of this disease is Serious.

Symptoms of Chronic Renal Failure are :

  • feeling sick
  • Swelling on feet 
  • itchy skin
  • Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is an irritating and uncontrollable sensation that makes you want to scratch to relieve the feeling. The possible causes for itchiness include internal illnesses and skin conditions.

  • Blood in urine or semen
  • muscle cramps
  • Frequent urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight loss
  • Sudden, noticeable weight loss can happen after a stressful event, although it can also be a sign of a serious illness.

    It's normal to lose a noticeable amount of weight after the stress of changing jobs, divorce, redundancy or bereavement.

    Weight often returns to normal when you start to feel happier, after you've had time to grieve or get used to the change. Counselling and support may be needed to help you get to this stage.

    Significant weight loss can also be the result of an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. If you think you have an eating disorder, talk to someone you trust and consider speaking to your GP. There are also several organisations that can provide you with information and advice, such as the eating disorders charity Beat.

    If your weight loss wasn't due to one of the causes mentioned, and you didn't lose weight through dieting or exercising, see your GP, as you may have an illness that needs treating.

  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Weakness

    Weakness is when strength is decreased and extra effort is needed to move a certain part of the body or the entire body. Weakness is due to loss of muscle strength. Weakness can be a big part of why cancer patients feel fatigue.


    Fatigue is an extreme feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, often described as being exhausted. Fatigue is something that lasts even when a person seems to be getting enough sleep. It can have many causes, including working too much, having disturbed sleep, stress and worry, not having enough physical activity, and going through an illness and its treatment.

  • Severe Headache
  • Headaches are a common health problem ? most people experience them at some time.

    Factors that lead to headaches may be:

    Frequent or severe headaches can affect a person?s quality of life. Knowing how to recognize the cause of a headache can help a person take appropriate action.


    Chronic Renal Failure can be caused due to:

    The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases. Diabetes happens when your blood sugar is too high, causing damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart, as well as blood vessels, nerves and eyes. High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases. If uncontrolled, or poorly controlled, high blood pressure can be a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease. Also, chronic kidney disease can cause high blood pressure.

    Other conditions that affect the kidneys are:

    • Glomerulonephritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidney's filtering units. These disorders are the third most common type of kidney disease.
    • Inherited diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, which causes large cysts to form in the kidneys and damage the surrounding tissue.
    • Malformations that occur as a baby develops in its mother's womb. For example, a narrowing may occur that prevents normal outflow of urine and causes urine to flow back up to the kidney. This causes infections and may damage the kidneys.
    • Lupus and other diseases that affect the body's immune system.
    • Obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate gland in men.
    • Repeated urinary infections.

    What kind of precaution should be taken in Chronic Renal Failure?

    Managing the chronic condition

    Some conditions increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (such as diabetes). Controlling the condition can significantly reduce the chances of developing kidney failure. Individuals should follow their doctor?s instructions, advice, and recommendations.


    A healthy diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats or fish will help keep blood pressure down.

    Physical activity

    Regular physical exercise is ideal for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels; it also helps control chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Individuals should check with a doctor that an exercise program is suited to their age, weight, and health.

    Avoiding certain substances

    Including abusing alcohol and drugs. Avoid long-term exposure to heavy metals, such as lead. Avoid long-term exposure to fuels, solvents, and other toxic chemicals.

    Treatment for the Chronic Renal Failure


    As a first step toward diagnosis of kidney disease, your doctor discusses your personal and family history with you. Among other things, your doctor might ask questions about whether you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, if you've taken a medication that might affect kidney function, if you've noticed changes in your urinary habits, and whether you have any family members who have kidney disease.

    Next, your doctor performs a physical exam, also checking for signs of problems with your heart or blood vessels, and conducts a neurological exam.

    For kidney disease diagnosis, you may also need certain tests and procedures, such as:

    • Blood tests. Kidney function tests look for the level of waste products, such as creatinine and urea, in your blood.
    • Urine tests. Analyzing a sample of your urine may reveal abnormalities that point to chronic kidney failure and help identify the cause of chronic kidney disease.
    • Imaging tests. Your doctor may use ultrasound to assess your kidneys' structure and size. Other imaging tests may be used in some cases.
    • Removing a sample of kidney tissue for testing. Your doctor may recommend a kidney biopsy to remove a sample of kidney tissue. Kidney biopsy is often done with local anesthesia using a long, thin needle that's inserted through your skin and into your kidney. The biopsy sample is sent to a lab for testing to help determine what's causing your kidney problem.


    There is no current cure for chronic kidney disease. However, some therapies can help control the signs and symptoms, reduce the risk of complications, and slow the progression of the disease.

    Patients with chronic kidney disease typically need to take a large number of medications. Treatments include:

    Anemia treatment

    Hemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that carries vital oxygen around the body. If hemoglobin levels are low, the patient has anemia.

    Some kidney disease patients with anemia will require blood transfusions. A patient with kidney disease will usually have to take iron supplements, either in the form of daily ferrous sulfate tablets, or occasionally in the form of injections.

    Phosphate balance

    People with kidney disease may not be able to eliminate phosphate from their body properly. Patients will be advised to reduce their nutritional phosphate intake ? this usually means reducing consumption of dairy products, red meat, eggs, and fish.

    High blood pressure

    High blood pressure is a common problem for patients with chronic kidney disease. It is important to bring the blood pressure down to protect the kidneys, and subsequently slow down the progression of the disease.

    Skin itching

    Antihistamines, such as chlorphenamine, may help alleviate symptoms of itching.

    Anti-sickness medications

    If toxins build up in the body because the kidneys don?t work properly, patients may feel sick (nausea). Medications such as cyclizine or metaclopramide help relieve sickness.

    NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

    NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen should be avoided and only taken if a doctor recommends them.

    End-stage treatment

    This is when the kidneys are functioning at less than 10-15 percent of normal capacity. Measures used so far ? diet, medications, and treatments controlling underlying causes ? are no longer enough. The kidneys of patients with end-stage kidney disease cannot keep up with the waste and fluid elimination process on their own ? the patient will need dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to survive.

    Most doctors will try to delay the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant for as long as possible because they carry the risk of potentially serious complications.

    Kidney dialysis

    There are two main types of kidney dialysis. Each type also has subtypes. The two main types are:

    Hemodialysis: Blood is pumped out of the patient?s body and goes through a dialyzer (an artificial kidney). The patient undergoes hemodialysis about three times per week. Each session lasts for at least 3 hours.

    Experts now recognize that more frequent sessions result in a better quality of life for the patient, but modern home-use dialysis machines are making this more regular use of hemodialysis possible.

    Peritoneal dialysis: The blood is filtered in the patient?s own abdomen; in the peritoneal cavity which contains a vast network of tiny blood vessels. A catheter is implanted into the abdomen, into which a dialysis solution is infused and drained out for as long as is necessary to remove waste and excess fluid.

    Kidney transplant

    The kidney donor and recipient should have the same blood type, cell-surface proteins and antibodies, in order to minimize the risk of rejection of the new kidney. Siblings or very close relatives are usually the best types of donors. If a living donor is not possible, the search will begin for a cadaver donor (dead person).

    Possible complication with Chronic Renal Failure

    If the chronic kidney disease progresses to kidney failure, the following complications are possible:

    • anemia
    • central nervous system damage
    • dry skin or skin color changes
    • fluid retention
    • hyperkalemia, when blood potassium levels rise, possibly resulting in heart damage
    • insomnia
    • lower sex drive
    • male erectile dysfunction
    • osteomalacia, when bones become weak and break easily
    • pericarditis, when the sac-like membrane around the heart becomes inflamed
    • stomach ulcers
    • weak immune system


    1 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354527 2 https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/#how_do_i_know_if_i_have_ckd 3 https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease#facts 4 https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/what-is-chronic-kidney-disease 5 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172179#complications 6 https://medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/chronic-renal-failure 7 https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/238798-overview 8 https://ada.com/conditions/chronic-renal-failure/ 9 https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/kidney-(renal)-failure