The main job of kidneys is to keep a constant internal balance in the body at all times: homeostasis. By choosing what to reabsorb and what to release into urine, kidneys help keep a tight balance of water and minerals int he blood. To maintain homeostasis, the kidneys:
Acute kidney injury (AKI), is a sudden, severe loss of kidney function, which can cause acute kidney failure. Causes of AKI may include:
Frequently AKI is a complication of another potentially life-threatening illness or injury. Treatment is focused on removing the cause of the kidney failure. If the kidneys do not respond to treatment and adequate kidney function does not return, dialysis is the only option.
Most people with AKI improve when the cause of kidney failure is removed or treated and don't require dialysis. Normal kidney function is usually restored, though in some cases, residual damage only allows partial restoration of the kidney function. These patients may not require dialysis but may need medicines to supplement lost kidney function.
Millions of people in the United States have chronic kidney disease. CKD is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. Anyone can get CKD at any time. While CKD is highly prevalent, most people are unaware they have it and remain undiagnosed. As a consequence of this lack of awareness, CKD has been labeled the "silent epidemic" by the National Kidney Foundation. Some people are more likely to develop kidney disease. You have an increased risk for kidney disease if you:
Early detection through routine medical exams that include a urine test and blood pressure check are good screening tools for CKD. A blood test for creatinine ( a waste that healthy kidneys remove) may find CKD early. Treatment and collaboration with your nephrologist may keep your kidney disease from progressing. As kidney disease progresses it may lead to kidney failure, which includes dialysis or kidney transplant.
People with CKD can help slow the loss of kidney function if they:
Kidney disease can affect anyone but some people are more at risk than others.