What is Chronic Kidney Disease or Renal Failure?
As an organ, kidney has many important functions but when due to an injury or disease there is loss in its performance, it is referred as kidney disease or kidney failure.
Often nephrons present in the kidney get affected by kidney diseases which lead to organ malfunctioning causing loss in their filtering capacity. Generally kidney diseases destroy the nephrons slowly without raising any alarm in the body but sometimes any severe physical injury or poisoning can damage them quickly too. When a person has a disease which attacks nephrons, both kidneys are affected at the same time. Blood tests are useful in diagnosing kidney diseases such as Nephritis which is an inflammatory condition and Nephrosis (non-inflammatory condition).
On the other hand, ‘failure’ word is used when the patient’s condition reaches to stage 5 of kidney disease. Kidney failure, also known as end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), is a medical condition in which both kidneys no longer work. It happens when kidneys are unable to filter waste from the blood properly. Kidney failure has two categories (i) acute kidney failure, in which patient kidneys stop functioning quickly and (ii) chronic kidney failure, which takes some time to stop working.
In medical term, ‘chronic’ word is used for a disease or health condition that persists over time or is frequently recurring. Generally when common people who do not have medical background, hear or read the word ‘chronic’, they assume the meaning as ‘severe ’ or something which cannot be tackled. But actually in medical term chronic denotes to a situation where the particular health condition is a ‘long term.’ This misunderstanding can lead to unnecessary anxiety among patients who may think their kidney performance is worse than it is.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
It is a type of progressive kidney disease in which there is gradual loss of kidney function over a period of time. It means that kidneys are damaged and unable to filter blood like they should. This result into building of waste products in the body due to which various other health problems arises that can harm other organs too.
Chronic Kidney (Renal) Failure
When chronic kidney diseases are left unattended, the health condition of the patient gets worsen over the time and the organ damage starts happening which is called CKD stage 4. Similarly at stage 5 indicate that severe kidney damage has happened and this is also known as kidney failure. In this case, the patient needs a kidney transplant or regular dialysis to survive. CKD stages are labelled on the basis of patient's level of Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) which is a measure of kidneys filtering capacity.
‘Acute’ is contrast to ‘chronic’ which refers to a disease or condition that occurs rapidly. This means abrupt or sudden. When referred for a disease ‘acute’ denotes to a medical condition that has occurred within short span of time period, quickly progressive and needs urgent care. Acute illnesses include bacterial and viral infections, as well as sudden injury.
Acute Kidney Disease (AKD)
It is now called as acute kidney injury (AKI). Acute kidney injury (AKI) is usually caused by an event that leads to kidney malfunction, such as dehydration, blood loss from major surgery or injury, or the use of medicines.
Acute Kidney Failure
Acute kidney failure is mostly reversible. It is caused by a sudden halt in kidney function. It is reversible but deadly if left unattended.
Other Factors to Halt Kidney Functions
Biological Condition: Besides kidney disease and injury, kidney functions can be halted due to biological defects in the body. Some people are born with defected or damaged kidney due to genetic conditions or have only one kidney.