Kidney Failure: Overview

Kidney failure is inadequate function of the kidneys, also called renal failure. Kidney failure may be acute or chronic.

Acute kidney failure may be caused by sudden severe shock, heart attack, acute urinary retention, acute pancreatitis, heat exhaustion, acute nephritis, or other causes.

Chronic kidney failure has various causes such as diabetic nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease), hypertension, polycystic kidney disease, chronic nephritis, and other causes.

Acute kidney failure may often be reversible once the underlying cause is corrected, whereas chronic kidney failure usually causes permanent kidney damage and requires ongoing dialysis or a kidney transplant. The final phase of severe kidney failure is called End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

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