What is Chronic Renal Insufficiency?

Steve R.

Chronic renal insufficiency, often referred to as chronic renal failure, is a severe medical condition in which a person’s kidneys are unable to properly filter toxins and other products out of the blood. Chronic renal insufficiency, which affects one out of 5,000 people, is an irreversible condition that can be controlled through medication and lifestyle changes. Left untreated, however, this condition can lead to death.

A dialysis machine, which is used for those with chronic renal insufficiency.
A dialysis machine, which is used for those with chronic renal insufficiency.

In the early stages of chronic renal failure, a person may display no physical symptoms for long periods of time. Generally, a person with chronic renal insufficiency will eventually suffer from fatigue, itching, nausea, and headaches. Also, a person will experience a loss of appetite and may unintentionally lose weight.

The kidneys and renal veins and arteries.
The kidneys and renal veins and arteries.

As kidney function worsens, a person with the condition will notice his skin turning abnormally pale or dark. A person's brain and nervous system will be affected, and he may feel tired and confused, and have difficulty paying attention. Other neurological symptoms may include muscle spasms and numbness, particularly in the hands and feet.

A person with advanced chronic renal insufficiency may also experience a host of other physical symptoms, including high blood pressure. A person's serum creatinine level will become elevated, which indicates a high level of kidney malfunction. An individual may also experience a dull ache in the lower or mid back. When a person urinates, he will typically notice that urine is clear because very little of the waste product is being filtered.

Treatment for the disorder may aid in delaying further kidney failure. Treatment centers on managing systems, diminishing complications, and reducing the advancement of the condition. Altering one's diet is one form of treatment. A person may be required to reduce fluids and watch salt, potassium, phosphorous, and potassium intake. A doctor also may recommend consuming more calories to counter losing weight, and eating a diet low in protein, fat, and cholesterol.

Medications can also assist in treating chronic renal insufficiency. High blood pressure medication may be prescribed. To control blood sugar, angiotensin-converting enzyme or angiotensin receptor blockers may also be prescribed. Phosphate binders, medications that keep the amount of phosphorous in the body at a safe level, are also effective. To fight anemia, iron supplements may be required.

With no cure for chronic renal insufficiency, a person will need to control the symptoms of the disease through diet and medication for the rest of his life. Refraining from smoking and getting plenty of exercise may also aid in keeping the disease in check. In some cases, treatment may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Conditions like polycystic kidney disease can lead to chronic renal insufficiency.
Conditions like polycystic kidney disease can lead to chronic renal insufficiency.

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