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What Are Acute And Chronic Kidney Disease

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Acute and chronic kidney disease are the two main types of kidney disease (chronic). Learn more about each one and what it might mean for you. Acute and chronic kidney disease are the two primary types of kidney disease (chronic kidney disease). Most people fully recover from short-term kidney disease, which can make them more likely to get long-term kidney disease.

What do your kidneys do for you?

The kidneys are the body’s main organ for getting rid of waste, and their main job is to filter blood and get rid of toxins. They are also responsible for making red blood cells and ensuring they mature properly (RBCs). Anything the kidneys think is good for the body will be filtered back in, and anything they think is bad will be pushed out. So, kidneys control the environment inside the body.

Differences Between Kidney Diseases

Most people think that dialysis is the best way to treat kidney disease. This is only true for people with end-stage kidney disease, where organs lose 10-15% of their ability to work.

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a type of kidney disease that used to be called Acute Kidney Disease (AKD). It is caused by “events.” For instance, by an injury, a drug, a wound, an infection, etc. People with AKI often have symptoms like mental confusion, feeling tired, and feeling sick.

Some people might not have symptoms, so lab tests would be needed to figure out what’s wrong with them. This type of kidney disease develops quickly. Within the first 48 hours, serum creatinine increases by 0.3%, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) increases, and the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) decreases quickly.

AKI is often found early and treated quickly because of this. Your doctor would figure out what caused the injury in the first place and work to stop it. For example, if AKI were caused by tubular ischemia, the doctor would try to remove the blockage with a laparoscope.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is different from AKI in that it gets worse over three months and is caused by “conditions” rather than events. CKD could be a sign of diabetes, high blood pressure, or polycystic kidney disease. Most people don’t have any symptoms when the disease worsens, so they aren’t diagnosed until the end.

Because a patient with no symptoms won’t be smart enough to go to the doctor for a kidney exam, CKD is found by accident. If the doctor finds a known cause of CKD, they usually order renal biopsies and serum creatinine tests.

Kidney damage is shown by albuminuria, casts in the urine, abnormal imaging results, or an abnormal renal biopsy. Radiographs or kidney biopsies are used to check for damage to the kidneys. Another sign is a GFR of less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 for at least 3 months.

Knowing your specific type

If you have a kidney disorder or another condition that affects your kidneys, ask your doctor to explain what kind of condition you have, what caused it, how to take care of your kidneys, and what your condition means for you and your way of life. The more you know about your condition, the better you can deal with it and maybe even slow down or stop it from getting worse.

If you have had less kidney function for over three months, you probably have chronic kidney disease. To learn more about the various kinds of kidney disease and what they may mean for you, visit. You can also use our fact sheets to find more information about chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injuries.

Common kidney diseases include:

  • Fabry disease is passed down from generation to generation because genes cause it. It affects different body parts, such as the heart, brain, and kidneys, and could cause long-term kidney failure.
  • Cystinosis is when the body has too much of the amino acid cysteine, which can cause several health problems. Damage to the kidneys from cystinosis often causes the kidneys to fail. People with cystinosis may be given medicine, and in rare cases, they may need a new kidney. It is a genetic disorder that is more likely to happen in younger kids.
  • Glomerulonephritis: Glomerulonephritis happens when the small filtering units in your kidney that clean your blood, called glomeruli, get damaged and can’t get rid of the fluid and stop wasting from your blood.
  • Lupus Nephritis: The autoimmune disease lupus nephritis hurts your kidneys and causes pain, swelling, and other symptoms all over your body by making your immune system attack its tissues. Lupus nephritis has no clear cause and is often untreatable, but with the right medical treatment, many people with lupus can decrease their symptoms and avoid kidney damage that could be life-threatening.
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is an inherited condition that leads to clusters of cysts forming mostly in the kidneys. Over time, this causes the kidneys to get bigger and work less well.

Other very rare kidney diseases:

A few rare diseases can make it harder for your kidneys to eliminate waste. These conditions can hurt the kidneys and cause long-term problems leading to kidney failure.

Serum Creatinine Testing

Just remember that one out of three people in the United States is at risk of kidney disease. AKI tests are often done immediately because of the symptoms, but CKD tests are much harder to spot.

A Creatinine Urine Test is what your doctor would recommend checking on your kidneys in the right way and at the right time. Creatinine is a chemical compound made in the muscles when they use energy. Creatinine can be taken out of the blood by healthy kidneys. Creatinine leaves the body through the urine.

Consult a Doctor

The best thing to do is keep in touch with your primary care doctor and let him or her check on your kidneys as they see fit. They might want to know what medicines you’ve taken in the past (because some medicines are bad for your kidneys) or link your symptoms to diseases.

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