Causes of Kidney Failure

The causes of Kidney Failure include certain diseases and conditions that slow down blood circulation to the kidneys, cause damage to the kidneys and block the elimination of urine. Acute kidney failure occurs when the kidneys are suddenly unable to remove waste from the blood.

The conditions which hamper blood flow to the kidneys include:

  • Infection
  • Blood loss
  • Medications for blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Severe burns
  • Extreme dehydration

The conditions which may cause damage to the kidneys include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots around the kidneys
  • Cholesterol accumulation which hampers blood circulation to the kidneys
  • Lupus
  • Intake of certain medications
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Toxins such as alcohol and illicit drugs

The conditions which may affect the removal of urine from the body include:

  • Cancer of the colon, prostate and bladder
  • Blood clots in the urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Nerve damage

Chronic kidney failure takes place when an illness or condition impairs kidney function over a period of time. This could continue for a number of months or years. The conditions which are known to result in chronic kidney failure include:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes, type I and type II
  • Enlargement of the prostate
  • Kidney stones
  • Cancer of the colon, prostate and bladder
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Scleroderma
  • Kidney infection
  • Damage to the renal artery
  • Vesicoureteral reflux, a condition in which the urine moves back into the kidneys

The risk of Kidney Failure may be high in the following groups of people:

  • Those who are of advanced age
  • Those who are hospitalized for serious illnesses
  • Those with diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, liver diseases, blood vessel blockages or heart failure
  • Those who take certain medications


  1. Thomas V. Perneger, Frederick L. Brancati, Paul K. Whelton, Michael J. Klag, Studying the causes of kidney disease in humans: A review of methodologic obstacles and possible solutions, American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Volume 25, Issue 5, May 1995, Pages 722-731, ISSN 0272-6386, 10.1016/0272-6386(95)90548-0.
  2. Paul Stevens, Assessment of patients presenting with acute renal failure (acute kidney injury), Medicine, Volume 35, Issue 8, August 2007, Pages 429-433, ISSN 1357-3039, 10.1016/j.mpmed.2007.05.013.
  3. K.J. Kelly, Acute Renal Failure: Much More Than a Kidney Disease, Seminars in Nephrology, Volume 26, Issue 2, March 2006, Pages 105-113, ISSN 0270-9295, 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2005.09.003.