Acute Kidney Failure and Its Deadly Sidekick – Uremic Neuropathy




This requires comprehensive medical care...

When you hear the words “acute kidney failure”, what do you think of?



Symptoms too obvious to ignore?

Then you might be surprised to learn that acute kidney failure often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms.  Many times it’s detected when the patient is already in the hospital for something else and evidence is found through tests.

When the symptoms finally do appear, they’re usually

∙           Swelling, especially in the legs and feet

∙           Cramps, muscle twitching or muscle weakness

∙           Little or no urine output

∙           Thirst and a dry mouth

∙           Dizziness

∙           Rapid heart rate

∙           Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite

∙           Confusion

∙           Anxiety or restlessness

∙           Pain on one side of the back just below the rib cage but above the waist

∙           Fatigue

While none of these symptoms appear to be life threatening on their own, in combination they can be a sign of a deadly illness – acute kidney failure.  And the root cause of many of these symptoms is a serious complication of kidney failure – uremic neuropathy.  Uremic neuropathy or neuropathy associated with kidney failure is a very common complication of kidney failure.

If you have two or more of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately.  A good place to start would be a physician well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve disease and damage, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

What Is Uremic Neuropathy[1]?

Uremic neuropathy is a type of neuropathy caused by an increase in uremic toxins in the blood (the toxins urine usually removed from the body when the kidneys function properly.) The severity of your uremic neuropathy is directly linked to the severity of your kidney failure.  If your kidney failure is acute, your uremic neuropathy is pretty serious.

There are several conditions that cause kidney failure that will make it more likely that you’ll develop uremic neuropathy because they directly affect the central and/or peripheral nervous system.  The more common ones are:

∙           Diabetes

∙           Systemic lupus

∙           Hepatic (liver) failure

How Can Kidney Failure Lead to Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is one of the worst results of chronic kidney disease[2].  Acute kidney failure damages the kidneys.  When the kidneys are damaged fluids, waste products and toxins build up in the body.   Because many organs and bodily systems (particularly the nervous system) are directly affected by this build up of toxins, acute kidney failure leads to overall poor health and inflammation and nerve damage.

Once the nerves are damaged, they cease to function properly.  One complication leads to another and, in 20% to 50% of patients with acute kidney failure, you develop uremic neuropathy.

If you have one of the conditions we listed above that directly affect the nervous system, pay particular attention to your daily state of health.  If you develop any of the symptoms of kidney failure, contact your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately for treatment.

Treatment and Prognosis

Uremic neuropathy is a serious condition that can arise from acute kidney failure.  Your best course of action is to catch your kidney issues before they become acute and you develop uremic neuropathy.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you and your other physicians to treat your neuropathy and manage your underlying condition.  They do this through:

∙           Diet Planning and Nutritional Support

You need to give your body the nutrition it needs to heal.

A low protein diet is best for patients with kidney disease.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about a diet plan that will work for you.

If you have diabetes, you need to follow a diet specifically designed for diabetics and     to control your blood sugar.

∙          Individually Designed Exercise Programs

If you experience dizziness, rapid heart rate, extreme thirst or issues with impaired sensation in your feet and legs, you have to be every careful with your exercise program.  Make sure that you don’t overexert yourself, take it slowly.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician can design an exercise program specifically for you that will allow you to exercise but won’t push you beyond what your body is capable of.  And, even more importantly, they will continually monitor your progress and adjust your program as needed.

These changes in conjunction with medications and possibly dialysis will make it easier to live with acute kidney failure and uremic neuropathy. Early intervention with a NeuropathyDR® clinician is still the best policy if you have any of the underlying conditions that can cause uremic neuropathy.  If you already have symptoms, start treatment immediately.

For more information on coping with autonomic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at