Renal Insufficiency

Renal insufficiency (also called renal failure, kidney failure, end-stage renal disease, ESRD) is a condition in which the kidneys can no longer function correctly to filter the blood, control fluid levels in the body, and maintain proper blood pressure and chemistry.

It can be the result of a congenital (at birth) abnormality, an acute injury or disease, or a chronic condition. Kidney diseases are categorized as acute or chronic. Acute disease comes on quickly and is usually caused by injury or infection. Chronic disease does not go away with treatment and tends to get worse over time.

Kidney diseases in children may be caused by birth defects, hereditary diseases, infection, nephrotic syndrome, systemic diseases, trauma, urine blockage or backup.

In infants to preschoolers, hereditary diseases are the most common cause of renal failure. From age five to fourteen, nephrotic syndrome (a collection of symptoms including albuminuria, hyperlipidemia, edema, hypoalbuminemia) and systemic diseases (lupus, diabetes) enter in. In the late teen years, conditions affecting the glomeruli (filters deep inside the kidney) are the most common causes.

Symptoms of renal diseases may include fever; swelling around the eyes, face, feet, and ankles; burning or painful urination; increase in frequency of urination; difficulty in controlling urination; recurrence of nighttime bedwetting; blood in the urine; and high blood pressure.

Diagnosis usually includes a thorough medical history, physical examination, blood and urine tests, imaging studies, and kidney biopsy.

Treatment depends on the conditions and may include medications, antibiotics, dietary changes, surgery, dialysis, and transplant.

Related Specialties

Renal Insufficiency