Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)

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What is Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)

Acute kidney injury (AKI), also referred to as acute renal failure (ARF) happens when the kidneys are abruptly unable to filter the waste materials like Creatinine, urea, potassium, sodium, and other waste materials from the body.

Let us discuss the functioning of the Kidneys first. They are the primary organ that filters out the waste materials from the body. But, certain conditions like bad habits and poor functioning of the kidneys lead to kidney failure.

AKI can be lethal for the human body, and it seriously requires intensive care. We are suggesting this only because the kidneys are interlinked to your heart and lungs. Bad functioning of the kidneys may lead to severe damage to other organs as well. So, it is necessary to apply some cautious measures beforehand.

In this article, we are going to discuss everything that comes to your mind, like what acute kidney injury is, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

What are the Symptoms & Signs of Acute Kidney Injury?

The kidneys are responsible for regulating the balance of electrolytes, fluids, and waste products in the body. When there is an accumulation of these substances, it can disrupt various processes in the body and lead to complications. Some of the signs and symptoms of acute kidney injury may include:

  • Protein Loss in Urine: Kidney injury is indicated by symptoms like froth, non-transparency, offensive odour, and colour changes.
  • Protein Deficiency: Because our bodies utilise protein to build enzymes and blood, if you frequently feel weak despite taking medications, you likely have protein deficiency due to poor kidney function.
  • Swelling: The loss of protein in our blood is a certain indicator of kidney failure. Blood becomes flimsy and flows through veins and arteries with ease, pouring into the foot where it is held and causing swelling.
  • Skin-related issues: The symptoms include patches of irritated skin brought on by blood impurities, and because the kidneys are damaged, they are unable to filter the blood.
  • Shortness of Breath: This ailment results from the body losing protein due to poor kidney function, which damages the liver and results in suffocation and breathing problems.
  • Nausea: When the kidneys are not functioning properly, urea builds up inside and affects the neurological system and brain, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
  • Weight loss: The body’s inability to sustain the energy levels in the muscles and body as a result of protein loss typically leads to weight loss.
  • Anemia: Loss of blood due to poor erythropoietin hormone activity and significant protein loss in urine, which causes haemoglobin in our blood to be lost.
  • Bone pain: The kidney’s poor functioning prevents it from activating vitamin D, which causes our bodies to lose vitamin D.
  • Feeling cold: Kidney patients experience poor peripheral blood circulation, which reduces vitamin D absorption and weakens the body.
  • High Blood Pressure: When 40% of the kidneys fail owing to high blood pressure, which also causes the brain and liver to function poorly, these are additional AKI symptoms.

What are the Causes of Acute Kidney Injury?

There are certainly three major reasons that lead to Acute kidney injury (AKI).

  • Lack of blood flow
  • Blockage in urine
  • Over usage of toxins

Lack of Blood flow: Kidney function can be hindered by decreased blood flow to the organs. Hypovolemia is the most frequent reason (a condition of low blood volume usually caused by dehydration or excessive bleeding). Heart failure and adverse drug reactions are two additional common causes of low blood flow to the kidneys. The damage to the kidneys is, however, potentially reparable, and these causes of AKI typically do not lead to permanent kidney damage.

Blockage in urine: A patient may become unable to urinate in some situations because urine may become blocked in the bladder or ureters. In these situations, urine may back up into the kidneys, inflicting swelling and eventual kidney damage.

Over usage of toxins: This category falls under the bad influence of toxins like alcohol, smoking, or drugs, also with the overdose of medications on a daily basis. AKI can also result from overloading the kidneys’ filtering capacity with medications in critical care situations to treat other conditions.

What are the Diagnosis & Treatment for Acute Kidney Injury

When your healthcare provider suspects acute kidney injury (AKI), they will conduct various tests depending on the underlying cause. Early detection of AKI is critical as it can progress to chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, and even heart disease or death.

The following diagnostic tests may be performed:

  • Urine test: Your healthcare provider will perform a urinalysis to detect signs of kidney failure.
  • Check urine output: Your healthcare provider will monitor your urine output to identify the underlying cause of your AKI.
  • GFR: Your blood test can be used to determine your GFR (glomerular filtration rate), which is an estimation of your kidney function decline.
  • Blood test: To assess kidney function, blood tests for creatinine, urea nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium should be conducted alongside protein blood tests.
  • Kidney biopsy: Sometimes, a healthcare provider may perform a procedure in which a small portion of your kidney is extracted using a specialized needle, and then examined under a microscope.
  • Imaging test: Ultrasound or other imaging tests can assist your doctor in examining your kidneys and identifying any irregularities.

Ayurvedic Treatment
With its roots in Indian Vedic culture, Ayurveda is a popular holistic form of treatment. The term “Ayurveda” is derived from two Sanskrit words – “Ayur” which means “life” and “Veda” which means “knowledge.” Thus, Ayurveda is known as “the knowledge of life.” This natural healing procedure employs the use of natural herbs and organic supplements to treat physical ailments, including acute kidney injury, at their source.

Ayurvedic treatment for AKI involves more than just the use of herbal medicines. It emphasizes the importance of dietary modifications and home remedies, some of which are outlined below:

  • Low potassium diet – A dietician may recommend a low potassium diet and avoidance of high potassium foods such as bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. Instead, low-potassium foods such as apples, cauliflower, peppers, grapes, and strawberries can be consumed by AKI patient.
  • Avoidance of salt – Sodium is commonly found in frozen foods, canned soups, and fast foods. Its use can increase blood pressure, which can be harmful to the kidneys.
  • Control phosphorus intake – Phosphorus is required by your body for proper functioning. If there is too much phosphorus in your blood, then it may make your bones weak and cause skin itchiness. Your dietician may recommend a diet chart that is low in phosphorus.