Uremia is a condition caused mainly by the accumulation of urea and other ions in the blood. These are toxic substances produced by the liver after the digestion of proteins, and they are usually filtered by the kidneys. Therefore, when the kidneys do not function properly, excess urea will accumulate as it will be unable to filter urea out of the blood as it should.
However, for healthy people, the level of urea in the blood may slightly increase due yo several factors such as poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, decreased blood hydration and the way the body performs metabolism. This does not always mean there is kidney disease.
Kidney failure is caused by injuries due to acute or chronic diseases that affect this organ. Such diseases include high blood pressure, diabetes, dehydration, serious infection, blows from accidents, alcohol consumption or drug abuse.
Symptoms of uremia
Excess urea is toxic to the body and it affects circulation as well as other organs such as the brain, heart, muscles and lungs, Other symptom sof urea include:
- Seasickness and vomiting
- Cough, shortness of breath
- Changes in blood clotting
Apart from excess urea, renal failure also causes fluid build up and other electrolytes in the blood such as sodium, potassium and magnesium, which can further aggravate symptoms.
How to diagnose
The diagnosis or uremia is made by the general practitioner or a nephrologist, through direct dosage of urea in the blood or directly, using the urea nitrogen test, which will be high. Apart from altered urea tests, uremia is also associated with renal failure and other aforementioned symptoms.
Other blood tests such as creatine, sodium, potassium, magnesium or urine can help detect the presence of changes in the functioning of the kidney and define the diagnosis of kidney failure.
Blood urea reference values
Level of urea in blood considered normal:
- From 10 to 40 mg/dl
Level of urea in blood considered critical:
- Values greater than 200 mg/dl
How treatment is done
Treatment of uremic is usually done through performance of haemodialysis which will filter blood just as a normal kidney does. Patients with renal failure usually require 3 haemodialysis sessions per week.
In addition, it is also important to maintain correct habits so as to avoid worsening renal failure such as practicing physical exercises, drinking the recommended amount of water by the nephrologist and taking a balanced diet.