Before you know about how to recover from Acute Renal Failure, you should understand what it is. Acute Renal Failure (also known as Acute Kidney Injury) is a condition where the kidney functions less than 15-20%. It’s a serious condition which if left untreated can require a kidney transplantation. The main function of the Kidneys is to remove the impurities in the blood through the urine. If kidneys lose function, these impurities get mixed into blood and can result in serious complication as blood travels throughout your body. Kidneys are made up of tiny cells known as Nephrons. Even if 50% or more of the Nephrons are damaged, the kidney can function well, however when it goes beyond 70-80%, kidney functions get seriously impaired.
Diagnosis: Acute Kidney Failure is diagnosed mainly through blood tests of the Kidney. Main parameters to look on for are Serum Creatinine, Serum Urea and Uric acid. Some Nephrologists (Kidney Specialist Doctors) also prefer the eGFR (Estimated Glomerular filtration rate ) to arrive at a conclusion. Normally, the Sr. Creatinine levels will be quite high in patients with Acute Renal Failure.
Causes: Causes for Acute Renal Failure are varying from severe dehydration, NSAID (Drug induced) , Hypertension and high Uric acid levels. Multiple organ failure can also lead to Acute Renal Failure.
Recovering from Acute Renal Failure :
Acute Renal Failure is different from the Chronic Kidney failure and sets in suddenly and so if managed well the patients can recover very well. It is advised that the patient should be managed in care of a Nephrologist. Usually, blood tests are recommended every 48 hours to measure the Sr. Creatinine and Sr. Urea levels. If the patient shows improvement in these levels, no dialysis is required. However, if the levels remain high, usually dialysis is done at regular intervals depending on the response of the patient and continued until the kidney function returns back to normal. The normal values for Sr. Creatinine is around 0.4 to 1.4 mg/dl. However, if the patient has a value of less than 5 and is recovering every 48 hours, dialysis is usually not required.
How much water to drink during the recovery phase:
If the patient urine flow is normal , then its advisable to take in more than 3 litres a day of plain water. Depending on the climate, the patient may require to drink up to 4 litres of water per day. For Acute Renal Failure, there is no medicine as such, the only treatment is by taking in enough fluids.
Diet for Acute Renal Failure Patients:
Reduce your Salt intake by half as more salt increased the water retention in the body and also increases blood pressure which can adversely affect the kidney. Strictly avoid fruits, juices, soft drinks, coconut water. Drink filtered or boiled water and stay hydrated at all times. Also reduce intake of high protein diets like meat, nuts etc. Stop taking all protein or natural supplements as they will be hard on the Kidneys. In some patients, Uric acid levels are seen high and if that’s the case, try skipping foods rich in Uric Acid, like tomatoes. Never take any pain killers or any antibiotic drugs without consulting your Nephrologist.
Your Nephrologist, will play a major role in planning your recovery process. So it’s very important to implement whatever your Nephrologist has suggested. You can visit multiple doctors in case of doubt to take a second opinion. Even after recovering from Kidney Failure, its advisable to get the blood tests done every month to check for any irregularities. Also maintain a proper diet and healthy lifestyle after ARF. Most of the Acute Renal Failure patients will recover during the first two months. In rare cases, this might progress to several months and turn into a Chronic Kidney Disease requiring lifelong kidney management. In any case, you can follow the above suggestions to give less strain to your kidneys.