Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

A to Z: Kidney Failure

May also be called: Renal Failure; Acute Renal Failure; Acute Kidney Failure; Acute Kidney Injury; Chronic Kidney Failure; Chronic Renal Failure; Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidney failure is a condition that happens when the kidneys lose their ability to filter waste products from the blood.

More to Know

Kidneys are bean-shaped organs located near the middle of the back, just below the ribs. They help to clean the blood by removing things like excess fluids, salts, and waste products from the blood. The waste products then leave the body as urine.

If the kidneys stop working correctly, harmful waste products and excess fluid build up. Blood pressure may also rise and the body might not make enough red blood cells. This is called kidney failure. If left untreated, it quickly can become life threatening.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney failure in adults. It can also be due to genetic diseases, birth defects of the kidneys or urinary tract, and diseases that damage the glomeruli, which are the tiny filtering units in the kidneys. Kidney failure can happen suddenly (acute kidney failure) or over time (chronic kidney disease).

Treating the underlying condition that's causing the kidney failure can sometimes help heal the kidneys. But this isn't possible if someone has lost too much function in both kidneys. When this happens, doctors may recommend a kidney transplant or dialysis, a process that does the work of the kidneys by artificially cleaning the blood.

Keep in Mind

The damage to kidneys from acute kidney failure can sometimes be reversed, and people in good health may recover normal kidney function. If the kidneys do not recover, a kidney transplant may be needed. Transplants are becoming more and more successful because of advances in surgery and medications that help the body accept a transplanted kidney.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.