Skip to Content
View Additional Content In This Section
Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys lose their ability to
function. To treat kidney failure effectively, it is important to know whether
kidney disease has developed suddenly (acute) or over the long term (chronic).
Many conditions, diseases, and medicines can create situations that lead to
acute and chronic kidney disease. Acute kidney injury, also called acute renal failure, is more commonly
reversible than chronic kidney failure.
The presence or lack of symptoms may help your doctor determine
whether acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease is present.
Most cases of acute kidney injury occur in people who are already in
the hospital for other reasons. In these people, acute kidney injury is usually
diagnosed when routine tests show a sudden increase in
blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels. A buildup of these
waste products in the blood points to a loss of kidney function. Your doctor
will compare these levels to previous tests to find out if kidney disease is
acute or chronic.
ultrasound of the kidneys also may help determine
whether kidney problems are acute or chronic. Normal-sized kidneys may be
present in either condition, but when both kidneys are smaller than normal,
chronic kidney disease is usually the problem.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerTushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.