What is acute kidney injury (AKI)?
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days. AKI causes a build-up of waste products in your blood and makes it hard for your kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in your body. AKI can also affect other organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs. Acute Kidney Injury is common in patients who are in the hospital, in intensive care units, and especially in older adults.
What are the signs and symptoms of acute kidney injury?
Signs and symptoms of Acute Kidney injury differ depending on the cause and may include:
- Too little urine leaving the body
- Swelling in legs, ankles, and around the eyes
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Shortness of breath
- Seizures or coma in severe cases
- Chest pain or pressure
In some cases, AKI causes no symptoms and is only found through other tests done by your healthcare provider.
What causes acute kidney injury?
Acute kidney injury can have many different causes. AKI can be caused by the following:
- Decreased blood flow
- Direct Damage to the Kidneys
- Blockage of the urinary tract
What is the treatment for acute kidney injury?
Treatment for AKI usually requires you to stay in a hospital. Most people with acute kidney injury are already in the hospital for another reason. How long you will stay in the hospital depends on the cause of your AKI and how quickly your kidneys recover. In more serious cases, dialysis may be needed to help replace kidney function until your kidneys recover. The main goal of your healthcare provider is to treat what is causing your acute kidney injury. Your healthcare provider will work to treat all of your symptoms and complications until your kidneys recover.
After having AKI, your chances are higher for other health problems (such as kidney disease, stroke, heart disease) or having AKI again in the future. The chances for developing kidney disease and kidney failure increase every time AKI occurs. To protect yourself, you should follow up with your healthcare provider to keep track of your kidney function and recovery. The best ways to lower your chances of having kidney damage and to save kidney function are to prevent acute kidney injury or to find and treat it as early as possible.
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