Renal Failure

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Age-related deterioration of the kidneys puts older person at high risk for renal failureDiabetes mellitus is a major cause of renal failure since it causes vascular changes in the glomeruli. 
Other causes of renal failure are chronic kidney disease and urinary tract infections, and long-standing, uncontrolled hypertension. The following are the symptoms, which are due to buildup of metabolic waste products:
- Edema
- Changes in urinary output
- Fatigue and general slowdown
- Memory problems
- Nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and weight loss
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Headaches
- Slurred speech
- Decreased sexual performance and desire
- Dry skin and itching
- Sensations of coldness
- Hypothermia
- Restlessness
- Hiccoughs
- Abnormal muscle movements; jerks, cramps, tremors, gait problems
- Paranoid personality changes
- Impaired vision and hearing
If progression of the disease is slow enough, the body adapts somewhat to the changes in its biochemistry. Acute disease produces the more severe symptoms, and convulsions, coma, and death are a frequent outcome.
Short-term, conservative treatment consists of a low-protein, low-sodium, low-potassium diet and fluid restriction. When the disease advances, dialysis is the next step.

Reference :
Farrell J : Nursing Care of the Older Person, J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1990.

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