What is Uremia Disease? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Uremia is a clinical condition in which the blood urea nitrogen (BUN) rises to an abnormal high level. It is an indication of kidney dysfunction. Urea is a nitrogen waste released after digestion of protein. It is normally filtered out through kidney by dissolving in urine together with other wastes. However, as kidney is not functioning normally, urea cannot be discharged from the body through urine.

It starts getting accumulated in blood and reaches to its toxic level. When too much of urea is accumulated to a dangerous level it gives rise to symptoms such as confusion, intense itching, fatigue, skin pallor, low urine output, rapid heartbeats, swelling in legs and face, confusion, etc. Person suffering from uremia also has rise of creatinine level in blood. It is a symptom of kidney failure, acute as well as chronic kidney failure. Treatment consists of dialysis. It is a procedure in which the dialysis apparatus takes over the function of kidney for a while and filters off all the waste from the blood.

Causes of Uremia Disease

As mentioned earlier, uremia is a clinical condition that results from dysfunction of kidney.

Uremia thus can develop in chronic kidney failure as well as acute kidney failure. The conditions that cause kidney failure are indirectly the causative factors for producing uremia in the body. Uremia is nothing but elevation of blood urea nitrogen to such a level which can become dangerous for the life. Following are important causes that can lead to kidney damage and resultant uremia.

  • Uncontrolled diabetes for long time.
  • It can develop as a long term complication of hypertension.
  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus erythrometosus
  • Kidney diseases such as chronic glomerulonephritis.
  • Genetic kidney diseases such as polycystic kidney
  • Kidney tumor, kidney stone, can cause blockage of urine flow. This if severe can cause uremia and kidney failure.
  • Chronic urinary tract infection.

A person has increased risk of developing uremia and kidney problems if he has: Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and family history of kidney disease, recent burn injury on large part of body, infection, etc. Elderly individuals are more prone to suffer from kidney failure and uremia. Person who suffers from chronic kidney failure and who does not undergo dialysis treatment on time may suffer rise in urea level within few days.

Symptoms of Uremia Disease

The symptoms of uremia occur because the kidney is not able to function properly in filtering out urea, a nitrogen waste. The nitrogen waste build up in large amount in the body to a toxic level. This may lead to symptoms of uremia and kidney failure.

  • Intense itching all over the body.
  • Pain in abdomen in flanks or all over the abdomen
  • Dry mouth
  • Severe fatigue.
  • Rapid heartbeats
  • Low blood pressure
  • Edema or swelling in foot, ankles and face. Most cases have bilateral edema.
  • Severe thirst
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Low urine output in case of kidney failure.

Treatment Options for Uremia Disease

Uremia is elevation of urea level in the circulating blood and the body. It is a waste released after metabolism of food. This waste is toxic if it remains for more time in the body. Normally the kidney removes urea from the circulating blood through it. Uremia occurs when the kidney is severely damaged and dysfunctional. When the kidney is not working, dialysis is the main treatment for removing the waste which also includes blood urea nitrogen. Dialysis also removes extra water and other toxic products. There are two types of dialysis, hemodyalysis and peritoneal dialysis. In hemodialysis a machine is used to remove the waste. It takes over the function of kidney for few hours and filters off the waste from the blood. Peritoneal dialysis is done with a help of a catheter. A catheter is inserted into the abdomen and dialysis fluid is filled in the abdomen. The fluid absorbs waste and eliminates it when it drains out from the body. In case of chronic kidney failure or end stage kidney disease, the option is to transplant the diseased kidney with a healthy kidney received from the donor.