When your kidneys lose their ability to filter waste from your body, dangerous levels of waste and fluids build up. This condition is known as kidney failure or renal failure. Sometimes this occurs acutely, such as after surgery or if blood vessels leading to or from kidneys are blocked. Chronic kidney failure, however, develops slowly over time, and most people don't know they have it until it is in its advanced stages.
When kidney function has decreased to less than 25 percent of normal capacity, symptoms often appear. Two common causes of chronic renal failure are high blood pressure and diabetes. During end-stage renal disease, when kidneys function at less than 10 percent of normal, the kidneys cannot sustain life. Western medicine believes that dialysis or a kidney transplant is necessary in order to stay alive.
When left alone, chronic kidney failure can lead to other complications, such as congestive heart failure, weak bones, and central nervous system damage. The symptoms do not usually occur until after irreversible damage has occurred. These symptoms include decreased urine output, unexplained weight loss, high blood pressure, anemia, and fatigue. Itching skin, muscle cramps, and intestinal bleeding can also occur.
Many things can lead to chronic kidney failure, although diabetes and hypertension are the two most common causes. Obstructive nephropathy, when urine outflow is blocked by an enlarged prostate, tumors, or kidney stones, can also cause it. Other kidney diseases such as polycystic kidney disease, kidney infections, and glomerulonephritis, where your kidneys leak protein into your urine, are other causes.