Renal insufficiency is a term doctors use for renal failure or kidney failure. In other words, renal insufficiency, renal failure and kidney failure all mean the same thing. These terms are basically interchangeable. Another name for renal insufficiency is kidney insufficiency, but this term is rarely used.
Renal failure describes a condition in which the kidneys cannot function sufficiently. It is an extremely serious and life-threatening condition.
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There are two major types of this kidney disease.
There is acute renal failure, which happens when one of several possible forms of kidney disease causes the kidneys to stop functioning, It is described as acute renal insufficiency because it typically develops in a relatively short time. Acute kidney failure is dangerous because the kidneys suddenly stop filtering toxins, wastes and excess fluids from the body. This can have a catastrophic effect on other organs and on the body's metabolic processes. Acute renal failure is often the result of an infection, an injury, major surgery, or a condition called nephrotoxicity. Nephrotoxicity occurs when there is toxic damage to the tiny filters in the kidneys. It can also happen from an overdose of drugs, or when blood flow to a kidney is obstructed or blocked.
Emergency kidney dialysis is often needed in acute renal failure cases. Kidney function can sometimes be restored but this is not always possible. Acute renal failure often causes permanent kidney damage.
Chronic renal insufficiency, or CRI, is the other type of kidney failure. Chronic renal insufficiency is sometimes called progressive renal insufficiency. CRI often takes years or even decades progress to the point that symptoms present themselves. By the time CRI has been diagnosed, significant kidney damage has probably been done and renal failure is a possibility.
Kidney damage from chronic renal insufficiency cannot be reversed. Once it reaches the end stage, known as end stage renal disease or ERSD, the kidneys no longer function at all. Unfortunately, at this stage, only two options for survival are available: kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant.
In the last few years, there has been some research indicating that the progress of chronic renal insufficiency can be slowed by certain treatments. One is controlling blood pressure with medications. Two common types of medications for blood pressure are the so-called ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers. Medications called statins, which help reduce high cholesterol, may also be beneficial. But more research is needed.
Individuals in certain high risk groups are more likely to experience kidney failure. Those with either Type I or Type II diabetes and high blood pressure are in the most danger. Kidney stones, kidney infections and kidney cancer also increase the chances that someone will suffer renal insufficiency. Others in higher risk groups include anyone over age 65, persons with a family history of kidney problems, and those who are overweight. Individuals who smoke are also at an increased risk.
Some recent studies have shown certain racial groups have higher rates of renal failure, including African-Americans, Asians Americans and American Indians.
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As mentioned above, signs and symptoms of renal insufficiency usually only appear after serious damage to the kidneys is already underway. So those in high risk groups should talk to their doctor about having kidney function tests done, even if it seems unnecessary. As is true with any other disease or disorder, the sooner treatment can begin, the better the chances of a positive and successful outcome.
You can read dozens of additional articles about this and related subjects by clicking on renal insufficiency [http://www.kidney-problem.org/renal-insufficiency.html] and kidney problems [http://www.kidney-problem.org].
Neal Kennedy is a former TV anchor, talk show host and medical reporter with a special interest in health and fitness topics.
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