Diagnosis of Renal Failure in Older Adults
The kidneys are not just a paired organ that produces urine. This is the main filter that regulates the amount of fluid in the body. Renal failure is also called renal impairment. In old age, it can occur acutely as a result of the development of a serious illness, and it requires urgent treatment in the hospital. But more often the kidneys fail gradually.
In most cases, renal failure can be compensated for a long time – so that the heart and lungs of a person do not “sink”, but can work normally. To do this, do not self-medicate, and contact the experts. The self-assignment of diuretics is especially dangerous: in the case of renal failure, most of them additionally “burn” the kidneys, which only worsens their condition.
The doctor will be able to suspect renal failure by the characteristic complaints, as well as by the patient’s appearance. In the case of an increase in blood pressure, the doctor will have to distinguish – whether it is caused by chronic renal failure, or, conversely, because of damage to the kidney.
Besides, the below tests may help identify the disease in older adults:
Urinalysis: urine density will be reduced, there will be protein and, most likely, red blood cells and white blood cells; Complete blood count: the level of hemoglobin will be reduced, and during inflammation (if, for example, pyelonephritis occurs or renal failure is caused by an inflammatory disease), ESR will be increased.
Urine density will be almost the same and low in all 8 samples.
Biochemical analysis of blood: these include the levels of urea, residual nitrogen, and creatinine. Levels of electrolytes in the blood, especially potassium (if it is higher than 6 mmol/l, emergency hospitalization may be required) and sodium are determined.
All of these tests will be positive for any type of acute renal failure, as well as for chronic renal failure. If renal impairment is caused by pyelonephritis or necrosis of the kidney tissue, ultrasound will be able to detect that. Urography will reveal how and at what level the ureters are blocked, whether it is possible to remove the stone separately or disintegrate it with ultrasound.
Also, blood tests may help identify:
- antibodies to the basement membrane of the kidneys;
- rheumatic tests;
- LE cells;
- antibodies to microbes leptospira.
About Medigap: Elder folks who are 65 and above can consider Medicare supplement plans which can help them pay for coinsurance.