‘Minor’ Acute Kidney Injuries Can Lead To Major Problems and Chronic Kidney Disease

When the kidneys become damaged, as is the case with acute kidney injuries, kidney function can become impaired. 

Some of the causes of acute kidney injury include:

  • Dehydration
  • Pneumonia
  • Blood Loss
  • Certain medicines, such as anti-inflammatory drugs

Over a prolonged period, frequent acute kidney injuries are associated with kidney failure and subsequent death. A recent study led by Professor Austin Stack, Consultant Nephrologist at University Hospital Limerick and Foundation Chair of Medicine at GEMS (Graduate Entry Medical School) drew upon the National Kidney Disease Surveillance System to observe trends in long-term rates of acute kidney injury in Ireland. From 2005-2014, out of a pool of 450,000 people, there were upwards of 40,000 incidences of acute kidney injury. 

Researchers calculated the increase from 5.5% to 12.4%, a whopping 126% increase in AKI frequency. These numbers were most significant amongst hospitalized patients. Researchers attribute the rise in acute kidney injuries to be due to, primarily, the greater number of elderly patients in the health system, but also a global trend toward worsening kidney function. 

Even stage 1 acute kidney injuries, which some people may view as comparatively minor can be a warning sign of future kidney disease. 

Based on their study’s findings, researchers provided some insight into what strategies for effective AKI prevention:

  • More public and physician education/awareness
  • Early screening of at-risk populations, using electronic alert systems 
  • Pre-emptive treatment of contributing factors, such as dehydration
  • Avoiding drugs that could damage the kidneys

Utilizing these tips and taking a look at our plethora of useful guides and videos are sure to help you support more normal kidney function and keep acute kidney injuries as far away as possible!