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Renal Failure



When the kidneys cease to function, the body goes into renal failure. Malfunctioning or non-functioning kidneys cannot clear excess water and waste products, allowing them to start to accumulate throughout the body. This can happen suddenly (acute renal failure), or can develop slowly over time (chronic renal failure). End-stage renal failure is the last stage of chronic liver failure, and requires the most drastic methods of treatment. The failure is attributed to weak blood flow.


The different types of renal failure exhibit their own unique symptoms, in addition to the shared symptoms of vomiting and feelings of nausea.

Acute renal failure is usually a fatal condition unless it can be caught and treated quickly. The symptoms of this condition include:

  • Feelings of drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Pain in the back
  • Urine output drastically reduced in amount

The first symptoms of chronic liver are usually loss of appetite and feelings of weakness. The symptoms following these develop sporadically, and can include:

  • Cramps in the leg
  • Frequent urination
  • Persistent hiccoughing
  • “Pins and needles” in the extremities
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin that is easily bruised, itchy, and pale in appearance
  • Twitching in the muscles

End-stage renal failure has its own set of symptoms that indicate the existence of this very severe condition:

  • Furry tongue
  • Headache
  • Odor of ammonia in the breath
  • Severe lethargy
  • Skin that is very itchy
  • Swelling in abdomen, face, and limbs
  • Very low urine output

Risk Factors for Renal Failure


Patients with the following conditions are at risk for developing renal failure:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Use of pain relievers over a long period of time

Treating Renal Failure

It is important to note that acute renal failure can be reversed through treatment; however, patients with chronic renal failure will eventually develop end-stage renal disease.

Because of this, treatment methods are primarily aimed at and developed for those with acute renal failure. The first treatments are aimed at restoring blood flow, and include medications and IV antibiotics, as well as dialysis treatments. Angioplasty or other treatments are often then utilized to further improve blood flow to the kidney.

Patients with chronic liver failure are often prescribed medications to treat underlying conditions and complications, and are given recommendations for lifestyle conditions that can help prolong kidney function. For end-stage patients, the only treatment is to go on dialysis until a matching kidney is located for transplant.

Conditions & Treatments



Vascular Institute of New York
960 50th Street
Borough Park

Brooklyn, NY 11219
Phone: 718-438-3800
Fax: 718-438-3131

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