Uremia Overview

Posted Thursday, September 29, 2016

Did You Know? Uremia predominantly affects patients over the age of 60

Complications of Untreated Uremia Can be Serious and Possibly Life Threatening 

Uremia is Reversible if the Cause Can be Found and Corrected within 24 Hours

Uremia is directly related to kidney damage and it is critical that if a patient suffers from a known kidney conditions, trauma or failure; that they seek treatment immediately. Kidney function is critical to the human body a precaution should be taken to ensure permanent damage or life threatening side effects don’t go unnoticed. Uremia is one of dozens of medical conditions that can occur from kidney failure.  

Please use this guide as a resource for knowledge and understanding of uremia, what it is, what are the causes, symptoms and treatment options.   


Uremia is a dangerous condition that occurs when the kidneys no longer filter properly. It's likely to occur when a person is in the final stage of chronic kidney disease. 

02 │Cause

Uremia is caused by any condition that affects the kidneys ability to filter waste or any condition the causes low blood volume or decreased blood flow. Some examples of these conditions are:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Certain medications, such as high doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or intravenous contrast material
  • Kidney damage from hypertension or diabetes
  • Kidney disease (includes any type of kidney problem, such as kidney stones, kidney failure and kidney anomalies)
  • Obstruction that interferes with normal urine flow
  • Renal artery embolism or occlusion (blockage of blood flow to the kidney)
  • Congestive heart failure (deterioration of the heart’s ability to pump blood)
  • Dehydration (loss of body fluids and electrolytes, which can be life threatening when severe and untreated)
  • Excessive vomiting


Symptoms of uremia are related to kidney damage that prevents the kidneys from filtering out nitrogen waste. This nitrogen waste builds up in the bloodstream, poisoning the body. The symptoms of uremia are serious and may occur very quickly. Some symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Mental confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling

04 │Treatment

Treatment options can vary from patient to patient but immediate attention is needed to stabilize the body and filter blood when the kidneys can no longer do so naturally.  Common treatment options may include:

  • Hemodialysis: Using a machine and a special filter used to clean the blood.  
  • Peritoneal dialysis: A home-based therapy that uses the natural lining of the abdomen as a filter Hemofiltration: Using filters outside the body to clean the blood.
  • Renal replacement therapy: Using replacement treatments such as dialysis and hemofiltration to clean the blood

For more information on kidney failure and nephrology, please visit: http://www.kidney.org  

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