What Is Renal Insufficiency?
Renal insufficiency is a medical term for a condition that's more commonly known as renal failure or kidney failure. It may also be called kidney insufficiency. Renal insufficiency means, so to
speak, that your kidneys no longer have sufficient ability to carry out their normal functions. Renal
insuffiency is a serious kidney problem and can even be fatal if left untreated.
There are several types of renal insufficiency.
Acute renal failure - This is also known as ARF and acute kidney failure. It occurs when some
form of kidney disease has caused the kidneys to stop working, usually in an uncharacteristically short
time. Since the kidneys normally filter toxins, wastes and excess fluids from the body, acute kidney failure
is extremely dangerous and qualifies as a medical emergency. It can be caused by an infection, a variety
of drugs (especially in overdose situations), traumatic injury, major surgery, or nephrotoxicity (toxic
damage to the tiny filters in the kidneys). It can also happen if the blood flow to a kidney is obstructed or
blocked. See acute renal failure causes for additional information.
Anyone with acute renal insufficiency is likely to need emergency dialysis. Sometimes, the
kidneys can be restored to normal function, but this is not always the case. Kidney damage may
Chronic renal insufficiency is the second type. It is often abbreviated as CRI, and is sometimes
called progressive renal insufficiency. Chronic renal insufficiency is an insidious condition that often takes
years - even decades - to develop and progress to the point that you even know you have it. By the time
symptoms appear, there's often been considerable damage done and chronic renal failure (as known as CRF or simply
"kidney failure") is a possibility.
Kidney damage from chronic renal insufficiency is currently irreversible. Once it reaches a
stage known as end stage renal disease (ERSD), the kidneys no longer work, there are only two options for
survival: kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant.
In recent years, medical researchers have learned that the progress of chronic renal
insufficiency may be slowed by certain treatments. Controlling blood pressure with an ACE inhibitor like
ramipril, or an angiotensin II receptor blocker like Cozaar or Avapro may slow it down. Medications known as
"statins," which are used to lower high cholesterol (Lipitor is one of the best known medications in this
group), have also shown some promise in recent studies.
There are a number of diseases and risk factors that are associated with renal insufficiency.
Diabetes (both Type I and Type II - see diabetes and kidney problems) and high blood pressure are among the most common causes. Other
types of kidney problems like kidney stones, kidney infections and kidney cancer are also prominent causes.
Individuals in higher risk groups include those over age 65, those who have a family history of kidney problems,
those who are obese or smoke, and those in certain racial groups (African-American, American Indian or
Asian-American). You can learn more by clicking on chronic renal failure causes.
Renal insufficiency symptoms are slow to appear, so anyone with the health conditions or risk
factors related to kidney insufficiency should consider having kidney tests done by their doctor. As
with most other diseases and conditions, treatment is more likely to be successful if it begins sooner rather than
Learn more about the dangers of kidney disease by clicking
on the book cover below or
The Kidney Disease Solution