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Renal (Kidney) Failure
Renal (Kidney) Failure

Renal (Kidney) Failure

Renal failure, or kidney failure, is a disease that slowly progresses until a patient can become very unwell. When caught in the early stages, renal failure can be effectively treated and monitored. However, should medical professionals mismanage a patient's condition then the disease can become life-threatening.

What Is Renal Failure?

Renal disease occurs when kidney function begins to fail. This can be caused by a number of things, some of the most common of which are high blood pressure, diabetes, and problems with kidneys such as kidney stones, infection or inflammation.

One of the major functions of the kidneys is to remove waste products from the body. Thus when the kidneys stop working properly, a person is unable to remove this waste, which is then left to accumulate inside the body.

Renal failure usually develops over an extended period of time, often without showing any immediate symptoms. It is for this reason it is referred to as a 'silent' disease. Because the kidneys slowly deteriorate, renal failure has differing stages of severity: one being the most minor, and five being the most serious.

Symptoms Of Renal Failure

Those with renal disease often do not present any signs in the early stages, except for perhaps a change in urination this may be either a decrease or increase in frequency. In the more advanced stages of illness, a patient may start to experience much more noticeable symptoms such as:-

  • Tiredness;
  • Swollen ankles, feet or hands (due to water retention);
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Nausea;
  • Increased need to urinate;
  • Itchy skin;
  • Blood in the urine.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Renal Failure

A patient suspected of being at risk of developing renal disease should be regularly screened for the condition with routine blood and/or urine tests. This may include people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or those with a family history of kidney problems. However, not everyone who develops renal disease is already being monitored, and so other tests may be needed to diagnose the condition. These may involve urine tests, kidney scans, and even a kidney biopsy.

If the kidneys are found to be deficient, then treatment will depend upon how far advanced the disease is. Stages one, two, and three of renal disease can usually be treated by a GP, and is likely to involve medication and advice on lifestyle changes (such as diet and alcohol intake).

If the condition is in the fourth or fifth stages, then a patient will need to be referred to a specialist for further assessment. It may be that medication is enough to control the symptoms of renal disease. However, if the kidneys have deteriorated to such an extent that nearly all kidney function has been lost, then a diagnosis of Established Renal Failure (ERF) may be made. In this case, a patient will need more extensive treatment such as dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Renal Failure And Medical Negligence

Renal failure is best caught in the early stages. If diagnosed in the primary stages then a patient is likely to be able to cope with the disease, and with the correct treatment will often make a full recovery. When left to the later stages, however, renal failure becomes increasingly serious.

Therefore if doctors fail to diagnose renal failure, or interpret the symptoms as a less serious illness, then a patient may face further complications. Without a swift diagnosis and appropriate treatment, then a patient's condition could even become life-threatening. If this has happened to you, then you should contact a medical negligence solicitor for more advice. It may be that your condition could have been prevented, and you may be able to claim compensation for your pain and suffering.

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