Kidney failure (also called renal failure) is a term used to describe when a person's kidneys stop working properly, or fail. Renal failure can be divided into two categories: chronic renal failure, and acute renal failure.
- Chronic renal failure develops slowly, and there are not many noticeable symptoms at first. Its presence can be an indication of other diseases, such as IgA nephritis, glomerulonephritis, chronic pyelonephritis, and urinary retention. Chronic renal failure will eventually develop into end-stage renal failure if it is left untreated. End-stage renal failure can only be treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Acute renal failure develops in a short time, and symptoms are more noticeable. Symptoms include production of less urine, changes in body water levels, and irregularities in electrolyte levels. The cause of acute renal failure needs to be found quickly, and dialysis is often needed while that is being found.
It is possible to have acute renal failure on top of chronic renal failure. This is called acute-on-chronic renal failure.