Q:

What causes renal failure?

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Quick Answer

Renal failure is most commonly caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, and other potential causes include injuries, congenital problems and reactions to medicines, according to American Kidney Fund. Chronic kidney disease, where the kidneys are damaged but still somewhat functional, can sometimes progress into full renal failure.

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Full Answer

A person is considered to have renal failure when the kidneys no longer work well enough to support life without dialysis or a transplant, American Kidney Fund says. Such failure is permanent, and kidneys in renal failure cannot be healed. Chronic kidney disease often does not cause many symptoms until it is quite far along, so it often goes undetected. Regular blood pressure, urine and eGFR tests can help detect chronic kidney disease before it progresses too far. A healthy diet, exercise, and avoidance of tobacco and alcohol abuse can help prevent chronic kidney disease.

The main job of the kidneys is to remove waste and excess water from the blood, according to American Kidney Fund. Kidney dialysis helps perform this function when kidneys cannot, but it cannot replace other functions lost during renal failure. Patients on dialysis have to control their diets, control their blood pressure, maintain bone health and ensure adequate blood cell creation.

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