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Modern Medicine: Acute Kidney Failure

Christa Dean Hild 

Acute kidney failure is a serious condition, but patients can recover and go on to lead a normal life. The key is early detection and treatment. 

Nephrologist Dr. Todd Minga says kidney failure causes fluids and toxins to build up.

"One of the problems when the toxins build up is it affects our brain, it affects our heart, it affects all the organs of the body," he explains.

Dr. Minga says the best prevention is early recognition of risk factors.  Those risk factors include:
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Certain over-the-counter medications

According to Dr. Minga, dialysis can be used to simulate kidney function and help remove toxins.  It can help save the life of a patient with acute kidney injury, and it helps the kidneys recover.  Treatment can last for 24 hours to weeks or months depending on the severity.  Symptoms to watch for include swelling, shortness of breath, confusion and just feeling bad in general.  However, the symptoms aren't always clear cut.