Loss of the normal function of both kidneys due to a variety of causes
- Age, gender, genetics, and lifestyle as risk factors depend on the cause
In kidney failure, the kidneys do not function normally, and waste products and excess water build up in the body, disrupting the chemical balance of the blood. The condition may take one of three forms: acute kidney failure, chronic kidney failure, or end-stage kidney failure.
Acute kidney failure is a sudden loss of kidney function that can be fatal if not treated rapidly. Chronic kidney failure is a gradual reduction in function of the kidneys over months or years. Some people have the condition for years without knowing it. End-stage kidney failure is a permanent and almost total loss of kidney function. Left untreated, the condition is fatal.
Treatment for kidney failure involves reversing or slowing the damage, restoring the chemical balance of the blood, and treating the underlying disorder. Methods of treatment for kidney failure may include drugs, dialysis, or a kidney transplant.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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