Can Kidneys Heal Themselves?

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The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook states that human kidneys can often heal themselves from the damage caused by acute kidney failure. A full recovery of kidney function is more likely if the episode of failure lasted less than five days and no complicating factors, such as infections, are present.

Harvard University explains that the human body uses mesenchymal stem cells to help protect the kidneys from injury and speed up their healing. Scientists at the university have identified several proteins produced by these stem cells that may help accelerate the healing process when administered to patients. Alternatively, some of these stem cells are placed inside small dialysis machines so that the blood can come into contact with the cells and the healing proteins be absorbed and travel directly to the kidneys. Ultimately, scientists at Harvard University hope to produce new kidneys through the use of stem cells.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica lists increased concentrations of nitrogenous substances, potassium and sulfates as common problems that accompany acute kidney failure. High blood pressure, exposure to metals or organic solvents and a loss of blood are common causes of acute kidney failure. Conditions that limit the flow of urine from the kidneys, such as kidney stones, can also cause damage to these filtering organs.