Acute Kidney Injury

Acute Kidney Injury is a condition that occurs when your kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products of your blood. It develops rapidly, usually over several hours or up to 7days. Earlier you detect and manage this condition, there is more chance of recovering kidney function.

Symptoms of AKI include :
  • Swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Muscle twitching
  • Itching
  • Joint pain, swelling
  • Stomach and back pain
  • Fever
  • Peeing less than normal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rashes
  • Nosebleed
  • Seizures or coma in severe cases
  • Nausea
Causes of AKI include :

1. Weakened blood flow to the kidneys

A condition in which the blood flow to your kidneys has lowered. It could be because of:

  • An Infection
  • Heart disease
  • Liver failure
  • Heart failure
  • Blood or fluid loss like diarrhea
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Severe burns, dehydration

2. Kidney Damages

Sometimes your kidney got directly damaged due to

  • Blood clots
  • Cholesterol deposits
  • Medications like NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen, contrast, chemotherapy, and antibiotics
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Breakdown of tumor cells
  • Breakdown of muscle tissues
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Overuse of Toxins such as alcohol, drugs, etc
  • Infections

3. Urine Blockage

Blockage in one or both of the ureters, carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder can lead to acute kidney injury include;

  • Nerve damage in the bladder
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Kidney stones
  • Blood clots in your urinary tract
  • An enlarged prostate
Risk Factors of AKI

Most often, kidney failure has caused by another medical condition or crisis. If you fall into any of the following categories, there is a higher risk for acute kidney failure;

  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Chronic kidney or liver disease

Heart Disease

Heart disease can lead to kidney disease and also kidney disease can lead to heart problems.

High Potassium

The human body needs potassium to survive. It helps work all the muscles, including muscles that control your heart rate and breath. But its excesses are also dangerous. An excess amount of potassium affects and impairs the function of the kidneys.


When the kidney is damaged, it cannot produce enough EPO (erythropoietin), which causes your red blood cell count to drop and anemia to develop.


A condition in which there is too much phosphorus in the blood. Healthy kidneys help your body maintain the right amount of phosphorus. But when you have kidney disease, your kidneys fail to do that, which allows you to build up to dangerous levels of phosphorus in the blood.

Fluid Buildup

Fluid buildup occurs when fluid is not removed from the tissues.

How to Diagnose

It can be diagnosed in several ways include;

1. Blood Test

  • Creatinine
  • Urea nitrogen
  • Serum potassium
  • Serum sodium

2. Urine tests 

3. Urine output measurement

4. Kidney biopsy (renal biopsy)

5. Imaging tests

Treatment for AKI

You need to get admitted in the hospital. In more serious cases dialysis may be needed to help replace kidney function until your kidneys recover. The main goal is to treat what is causing the acute kidney injury.

After having AKI, your chances are higher for other health problems (such as kidney disease, stroke, heart disease). So, you should keep coming for kidney checkup. The best way to lower your risk of kidney damage and protect your kidney function is to prevent or treat acute kidney damage as early as possible.

  • Keep a healthy lifestyle
  • Avoid over the counter medications esp. NSAIDS
  • Control your diabetes, hypertension and other comorbid conditions