Learn about Rapidly Progressive Renal Failure along with its Causes and Treatments

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Rapidly progressive renal failure, also known as acute renal failure or acute kidney failure, is a condition in which renal ability to refine unwanted metabolic byproducts from the blood deteriorates rapidly within days to weeks. This condition might occur as a result of blood flow reduction to the kidneys, which prevents urine flow from the kidneys. High levels of potassium in the blood and heart failure are several complications it may occur. You might suffer from this condition if both of your kidneys are infected.


Causes of this type of renal failure are classified as follows:

Prerenal Failure

Prerenal failure refers to renal problems that affect blood flow before reaching the kidneys. The failure might take place because the kidneys refine insufficient blood. Prerenal failure can result from dehydration and blood flow reduction to the kidneys, which might injure the kidney tissues.

Postrenal Failure

Postrenal failure known as obstructive renal failure indicates renal problems that affect the movement of urine from the kidneys. Postrenal failure in the ureters might develop from kidney stone occurring on one side of the kidneys and cancer of the urinary tract organs that can hamper the urine output. Meanwhile, postrenal failure in the bladder can result from bladder stone, bladder cancer, blood clot, enlarged prostate, and neurologic disorders.

Renal Failure

Renal failure signifies renal problems that avoid filtration of blood or urine production. Causes of renal failure include dysfunction of the kidneys, the blood supply problems in the kidneys, and renal problems in managing salt and water processing. Several renal problems leading to renal failure are renal tissue injury, blood vessel diseases, and blood clot in the kidneys.


Symptoms of rapidly progressive renal failure that might occur are as follows:

• Puffiness in the face and hands

• Swollen feet and ankles

• Loss of appetite

• Nausea

• Fatigue

• Rapid heartbeat

• High fever

• Low blood pressure

• Decreased quantity of urine (about 500 milliliters per day) or no urine

• Cola-colored urine


Your physician may recommend some diagnoses be performed to decide whether or not you have any abnormality in your kidneys including:

Blood and Urine Tests

Creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) can be indicators to confirm the diagnosis by using blood test. Renal failure will be noticed if you have a significant rise in creatinine level. This condition is known as azotemia. If your red blood cell count is low (anemia), it means you have the severe renal failure. Your physician can utilize urine test like urinalysis to find the cause of renal failure, which might be urinary obstruction or deficient blood flow to the kidneys.

Physical examination

Physical examinations include computed tomography (CT) or ultrasonography (USG). Those physical examinations result in imaging of the kidneys such as the renal size or an enlarged bladder. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) indicates imaging of the kidneys, but MRI is rarely used today.


You might be surprised to find that if renal failure is present for less than five days and there is no infection, the kidneys can cure themselves. You need to take some do’s such as keeping a healthy diet and nutrition; limiting fluids, potassium, and sodium intake; restricting use of particular drugs, and undergoing dialysis if needed. Those do’s are important to keep renal failure from resulting in severe troubles.

You must undergo dialysis through hemodialysis to remove excess water and unwanted byproducts found in your body. It is very essential to enable the kidneys to regain their roles within a few days to a few weeks.


When it comes to prognosis, renal failure has survival rate of less than 50% for those who have serious illness with complications. However, the overall survival rate remains about 60%. For those with renal failure that results from blood flow reduction, the survival rate reaches 90%.


The Merck Manuals: Online Medical Library - https://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec11/ch143/ch143b.html

eMedicine Health: Acute Kidney Failure - https://www.emedicinehealth.com/acute_kidney_failure/article_em.htm


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