Parish Nurse Corner

Our parish nurse Jan Sandos provides us with a monthly column keeping us informed of pertinent medical information.


3 John: 2—“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

Acute Kidney Failure

Acute kidney failure occurs when your kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products from your blood. This may cause dangerous levels of wastes to accumulate, and your blood’s chemical makeup may get out of balance. This can be fatal and requires intensive treatment. However, acute kidney failure may be reversible. If you’re otherwise in good health, you may recover normal or nearly normal kidney function.

Certain diseases and conditions may slow blood flow to the kidneys and lead to kidney failure.  These include blood pressure medications, heart disease, infections, liver failure, use of aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or related drugs, severe allergic reactions, severe dehydration, severe burns.  Certain diseases, conditions, and agents may damage the kidneys and lead to acute kidney failure.  These include cholesterol deposits that block blood flow in the kidneys; infections; multiple myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells); scleroderma; toxins such as alcohol, heavy metals, and cocaine; blood clots in the veins and arteries in and around the kidneys; medications such as certain chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, and dyes used during imaging tests.  Certain diseases and conditions may block the passage of urine out of the body (urinary obstructions) and can lead to acute kidney failure.  These include bladder cancer; certain other cancers; nerve damage; blood clots in the urinary tract; enlarged prostate; kidney stones.

Potential complications of acute kidney failure include fluid buildup, chest pain, muscle weakness, permanent kidney damage.  Treatment for acute kidney failure typically requires a hospital stay.  Your doctor will also work to prevent complications and allow your kidneys time to heal. Treatments that help prevent complications include treatments to balance the amount of fluids in your blood, medications to control blood potassium, medications to restore blood calcium levels, and dialysis to remove toxins from your blood.

Acute kidney failure is often difficult to predict or prevent, but you may reduce your risk by taking care of your kidneys. Try to pay attention to labels when taking over-the-counter pain medications.  Taking too much of these medications may increase your risk of acute kidney failure. This is especially true if you have pre-existing kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.  Work with your doctor to manage kidney problems.  Stay on track with treatment goals and follow your doctor’s recommendations to manage your condition.  Make a healthy lifestyle a priority.  Be active; eat a sensible, balanced diet; and drink alcohol only in moderation—if at all.



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