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Renal (Kidney) Failure

Renal failure, also known as kidney failure or renal insufficiency, is a medical condition in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter waste products from the blood.The two main forms are acute kidney injury, which is often reversible with adequate treatment, and chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is often not reversible. In both cases, there is usually an underlying cause.

Before the advancement of modern medicine, renal failure was often referred to as uremic poisoning. Uremia was the term for the contamination of the blood with urine. It is the presence of an excessive amount of urea in blood. Starting around 1847, this included reduced urine output, which was thought to be caused by the urine mixing with the blood instead of being voided through the urethra. The term uremia is now used for the illness accompanying kidney failure.

Tags: kidney failure, polycystic kidney disease, renal failure, acute kidney injury, acute renal failure, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), chronic kidney disease

Kidney failure, also known as renal failure or renal insufficiency, is a medical condition of impaired kidney function in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter metabolic wastes from the blood. The two main forms are acute kidney injury, which is often reversible with adequate treatment, and chronic kidney disease, which is often not reversible. In both cases, there is usually an underlying cause.

Kidney failure is mainly determined by a decrease in glomerular filtration rate, which is the rate at which blood is filtered in the glomeruli of the kidney. The condition is detected by a decrease in or absence of urine production or determination of waste products (creatinine or urea) in the blood. Depending on the cause, hematuria (blood loss in the urine) and proteinuria (protein loss in the urine) may be noted.

In kidney failure, there may be problems with increased fluid in the body (leading to swelling), increased acid levels, raised levels of potassium, decreased levels of calcium, increased levels of phosphate, and in later stages anemia. Bone health may also be affected. Long-term kidney problems are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Kidney failure can be divided into two categories: acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease. The type of renal failure is differentiated by the trend in the serum creatinine; other factors that may help differentiate acute kidney injury from chronic kidney disease include anemia and the kidney size on sonography as chronic kidney disease generally leads to anemia and small kidney size.

Diabetes is the most common cause of ESRD. High blood pressure is the second most common cause of ESRD. Other problems that can cause kidney failure include:

  • Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and IgA nephropathy
  • Genetic diseases (diseases you are born with), such as polycystic kidney disease
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Urinary tract problems

Sometimes the kidneys can stop working very suddenly (within two days). This type of kidney failure is called acute kidney injury or acute renal failure. Common causes of acute renal failure include:

  • Heart attack
  • Illegal drug use and drug abuse
  • Not enough blood flowing to the kidneys from heavy blood loss, an injury, a bad infection (sepsis), or dehydration
  • Damage from some medicines, poisons, or infections. Most people don't have any kidney problems from taking medicines. But people who have serious, long-term health problems are more likely than other people to have a kidney problem from medicines. Examples of medicines that can sometimes harm the kidneys include:
    • Antibiotics, such as gentamicin and streptomycin.
    • Pain medicines, such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
    • Some blood pressure medicines, such as ACE inhibitors.
    • The dyes used in some X-ray tests.
  • Urinary tract problems such as kidney stones, a tumor, an injury, enlarged prostate gland causing a blockage This type of kidney failure is not always permanent. Your kidneys may go back to normal or almost normal with treatment and if you do not have other serious health problems.


  • chronic kidney disease (CKD): any condition that causes reduced kidney function over a period of time. CKD is present when a patient’s glomerular filtration rate remains below 60 milliliters per minute for more than 3 months or when a patient’s urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio is over 30 milligrams (mg) of albumin for each gram (g) of creatinine (30 mg/g).
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD): total and permanent kidney failure. When the kidneys fail, the body retains fl uid. Harmful wastes build up. A person with ESRD needs treatment to replace the work of the failed kidneys.
  • acute kidney injury (AKI): sudden, temporary, and sometimes fatal loss of kidney function
  • incidence: the number of new cases of a disease in a given time period
  • prevalence: the number of existing cases of a disease at a given point in time

Chronic Kidney Disease Incidence

  • The incidence of CKD is increasing most rapidly in people ages 65 and older.
  • The incidence of recognized CKD in people ages 65 and older more than doubled between 2000 and 2008.
  • The incidence of recognized CKD among 20- to 64-year-olds is less than 0.5 percent.

ESRD Mortality

  • The number of deaths from ESRD rose from 10,478 in 1980 to 90,118 in 2009.

Famous People with Kidney Disease:

  • Childhood Kidney Support Network - Well-known people who have battled Kidney Disease
Famous People with Kidney Disease
  • Ranker - Famous People Who Died of Renal Failure - 257 listed
    • Ernest Borgnine - Military officer, actor (1917-2012)
    • Greta Garbo - Musician, model, actoress (1905-1990)
    • Chiang Kai-shek - Politician, soldier, warlord (1887-1975)
    • Julia Child - Cook, TV chef, author (1912-2004)
    • Alfred Hitchcock - Film Art Director, TV producer & director, screenwriter (1899-1980)
    • Marlene Dietrich -Actress, singer, violinist (1901-1992)
    • Howard Hughes - Pilot, Investor, Entrepreneur, Film Producer, Philanthropist (1905-1976)
    • Veronica Lake - Pin-up girl, actor (1922-1973)
    • Ferdinand Marcos - Politician, soldier, lawyer (1917-1989)
    • Cole Porter - Songwriter, screenwriter, Lyricist (1891-1964)
    • Dom DeLuise Comedian, TV producer, Author, Actor (1933-2009)
    • Isaac Asimov Biochemist, historian, novelist (1920-1992)
    • Douglas MacArthur -Military officer (1880-1964)
    • Laurence Olivier - TV producer, film producer, screen writer, actor (1907-1989)
    • Sandra Dee - Actress (1942-2005)
    • C.S. Lewis - Author (1898-1963)
    • Norman Mailer (1923-2007)
    • Barry White - Singer-songwriter, musician (1944-2003)
    • Wahoo McDaniel - Wrestler, American football player (1938-2002)
    • George Bernard Shaw - Author (1856-1950)
    • Art Tatum - Jazz Pianist (1909-1956)
    • Florence Harding - wife of President Warren G Harding (1860-1924)
    • Lewis Miller - Inventor (1829-1899)
    • Mary Wickes - Actress (1910-1995)
    • Edgar Bergen - Comedian, Ventriloquist, actor (1903-1978)
    • George P Putnam - Publisher, author (1887-1950)
    • Roman Totenberg - Violinist, teacher (1911-2012)
    • Sally Hayfron - Politician, teacher (1931-1992)
    • Rainier III, Prince of Monaco (1923-2005)
    • Lilia Prado - Actress (1928-2006)
    • Buffalo Bill (1846-1917)

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