Renal Insufficiency - Fairview Health Services
 
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Renal Insufficiency

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The role of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess water from the body. When the kidneys do not function normally, waste products build up in the blood. The early stage of this process is called “renal insufficiency”. If renal insufficiency worsens it can lead to chronic renal failure. This allows excess water, waste and toxic substances to build up in the body. This can become a threat to life, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

Diabetes is the leading causes of renal insufficiency.  Other causes include high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, lupus, inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis), prior viral and bacterial infections, and others. Certain over-the-counter pain medicines can cause renal failure when taken often over a long period of time. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and related anti-inflammatory medicines.

Home Care:

  • If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about the quality of your blood sugar control. Ask about any changes needed to your diet or medicines.

  • If you have high blood pressure:

    • Take your blood pressure medicine.

    • Take up a regular exercise program that you enjoy. Check with your doctor to be sure your planned exercise program is right for you.

    • Reduce your salt (sodium) intake. Your doctor can tell you how much salt per day is safe for you.

  • If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan.

  • If you smoke, you must quit. Smoking worsens kidney disease. Talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit. For more information, visit the following links:

    • www.smokefree.gov/pubs/clearing_the_air.pdf

    • www.smokefree.gov

    • www.quitnet.com

  • Talk to your doctor about any dietary restrictions advised. In general, it is advisable to limit protein, salt, potassium and phosphorus. Avoid excess fluids. Do not add salt at the table and avoid salty foods. A calcium supplement may be prescribed to protect your bones from osteoporosis.

  • Avoid the following over the counter medicines, or consult your doctor before using:

    • Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naprosyn (Aleve); [Short term use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever or pain is okay.]

    • Laxatives and antacids containing magnesium or aluminum (Mylanta, Maalox)

    • Avoid Fleet or phosphosoda enemas which contain phosphorus

    • Certain stomach acid-blocking medicine such as cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac)

    • Decongestants containing pseudoephedrine (such as some forms of Sudafed or Actifed)

    • Herbal supplements

Follow Up

with your doctor or as advised by our staff.  Contact one of the following for more information.

  • American Association of Kidney Patients (800) 749-2257 www.aakp.org

  • National Kidney Foundation (800) 622-9010 www.kidney.org

Return Promptly

or contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Severe weakness, dizziness, fainting, drowsiness or confusion

  • Chest pain or shortness of breath

  • Unexpected weight gain or swelling in the legs, ankles or around the eyes

  • Heart beating fast, slow or irregularly

  • Decrease or loss in urine output

 

 
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