Reduced kidney function or full kidney failure is quite common among older adults. Almost 40% of US citizens older than 60 have chronic kidney disease. As a consequence of this, they are in grave danger of kidney failure. If your loved one is in this risk group, you should read this article and get familiar with the symptoms that precede a kidney failure in older adults. If you are quick to respond to the initial symptoms, the chances are higher this disease won’t develop and threaten the life of your elderly loved one.
What Is Kidney Failure in Older Adults?
Kidney failure comes in two types. Chronic and acute. The chronic type occurs as a consequence of comorbid disease, which is a condition that gradually damages the kidneys. With time, the damage increases, rendering these organs useless. The acute type of kidney failure comes as a result of some sort of severe health event. The most common reasons behind it are injuries, blood loss, and misuse of medications.
The result of both types is the inability of your kidneys to process the blood. Because of this, it quickly fills with unhealthy waste. The worst part of this condition is that a shift from kidney disease to complete kidney failure in older adults could happen in a matter of days. If not treated immediately, kidney failure can result in death. In most cases, intensive medical treatments are necessary. For those that are in good health but develop early stages of kidney disease, there is a significant chance that they can regain normal kidney function and completely reverse their kidney health.
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Failure
The best way to identify kidney disease in its early stages is to known its main symptoms. Those that are most easily noticeable are fatigue, nausea, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, and decreased urine output. Other symptoms include swelling and accumulation of water in legs. But unfortunately, in most cases, kidney failure in older adults progresses slowly and makes it hard to notice the first symptoms. With seniors older than 60, it gets even harder to see them in time, as they often share traits with other conditions that elderly adults might have.
Causes of Kidney Failure in Older Adults
There are many reasons why kidney failure happens, but they are generally classified into three groups.
The first ones are related to health conditions caused by slow blood flow, which can be caused by medications among other things. The medicines that have this effect are those used for heart disease, dehydration, blood loss, infection, blood pressure medications, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Issues that have a direct impact and cause immediate kidney damage belong to the second group. These causes include blood clots, toxins, inflammation, lupus, and other conditions that can cause tissue damage.
The final group of most common kidney failure reasons is the blockage of drainage tubes. When the passage that leads out of the kidney is blocked, waste materials can’t leave our body through urine. This condition can be caused by an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, blood clots, and some types of cancer.
Preventing Kidney Failure in the Elderly
Older adults can be affected by all types of kidney failure, which can lead to various other health complications. Those that cause the most damage are muscle weakness, chest pain, fluid buildup, kidney damage, and even death. Those that have kidney disease in its late stages have a 20% death rate if they don’t receive a transplant. Because of this, the best treatment for kidney disease is prevention.
There is no clear-cut cure for the kidney damage that all of us sustain through life, but we can put less pressure on them. The best way is to lead a healthy lifestyle and to carefully pick which over-the-counter medications we use.
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