Renal failure, also known as kidney failure, is when the kidneys shut down and require invasive treatment in order to function, reports the American Kidney Fund. Kidney failure can occur slowly over time, or it can occur almost instantly.
When kidney failure occurs quickly, it is called acute kidney failure or acute renal failure, according to the MayoClinic. Acute renal failure usually occurs when a patient is already in the hospital and has other pre-existing conditions or diseases. Acute kidney failure can occur in as little as a few hours, and most of the time the damage can not be fixed unless treatment is instantaneous, reports the MayoClinic. People with acute kidney failure usually developed it from damage due to infections, medications or poisons, as well as a sudden blockage that prevents urine flow or a sudden inability to deliver blood to the kidneys, reports WebMD.
When kidney failure occurs slowly over time, it is typically due to autoimmune disease, injuries, ongoing medications and genetic diseases. In order to prevent kidney failure, doctors recommend that patients try to limit their alcohol intake, do not use tobacco, exercise as many days of the week as they can and eat a diet that does not have much sodium or fat, reports the American Kidney Fund. Treatment involves a kidney transplant or dialysis.