Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to do their job. This can be due to various causes. Some children may be born with abnormal kidneys. In others, kidneys, which are normal at birth, gets damaged later in life due to:
- Repeated urine/kidney infections
- Obstruction to urine flow
- Overactive immune system targeting the kidneys
- High blood pressure
- Medications that are toxic to the kidneys
Symptoms of Kidney failure:
- Swelling of the face
- Passing too much or too little urine/frequent waking up at night to pass urine
- Drinking excess water/frequent waking up at night to drink water
- Passing reddish brown coloured urine
- Feeling very tired/lethargic
- Deformities of legs
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Not growing well, poor height/weight gain
Some of these symptoms may occur in other diseases as well. To make a diagnosis that kidneys are failing, the doctor will perform tests to evaluate kidney functions.
Once the diagnosis of kidney failure is done, therapy initially involves supportive medications and dietary modifications. When the kidney functions fall below 10%, they cannot effectively do their jobs, such as remove waste or excess fluid from your blood. In this case, a patient may be asked to undergo dialysis, where the function of the kidneys is taken over by a machine. There are various methods of dialysis, like blood dialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Dialysis can be continued until a new kidney can be transplanted. In a kidney transplant, another person’s kidney is transferred into the child’s body. The donor can be a relative like parents, grandparents of the child. It can also be someone unrelated, who has passed away and has donated his/her kidney.
If controlled and treated properly, kidney failure should not get in the way of the child leading a near normal life.