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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Chronic Renal Failure
      Category : Health Centers > Urinary System & Kidneys

Chronic Renal Failure

Alternate Names : CRF, Chronic Kidney Failure

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Chronic renal failure, called CRF, is a disease in which the kidneys gradually stop working. As a rule, this process takes place over a period of a few years.

What is going on in the body?

In a healthy body, the kidneys filter waste and other impurities from the blood. These wastes are then excreted from the body in the urine. In people with CRF, toxins that the kidneys fail to get rid of build up slowly in the body. Two of the most common toxins are urea, a nitrogen waste product, and creatinine. The amount of toxins that remains in the blood is a rough measure of how well the kidneys are working at any given time.

What are the causes and risks of the disease?

A primary kidney disease may cause CRF. But it may also be due to other diseases that affect kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Other common causes include:

  • glomerulonephritis, the swelling of the glomerulus, which is a part of the kidney made up of blood vessels and nerve fibers
  • interstitial disease, a disease within the cell walls of the kidney
  • multiple myeloma, which is also known as a cancer of the bone marrow
  • obstructive uropathy, a condition in which the flow of urine is blocked
  • polycystic kidneys, a condition in which the kidneys become enlarged and grow cysts
  • systemic lupus erythematosus, a long-term disease that affects many parts of the body, including the kidneys
  • Everyone is at risk for chronic renal failure as they age. But some people are at greater risk, such as:

  • African Americans
  • males
  • those who have a family history of the disease


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    Chronic Renal Failure: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Rajnish K. Dhingra, MD
    Reviewer: Lisa Sterling, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 02/11/02

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