What is uremia?

Uremia is a clinical state in which the blood urea nitrogen level, an indicator of nitrogen waste products, is elevated. In uremia, the kidneys’ failure to filter nitrogen waste properly leads to excessively high levels of nitrogen wastes in the bloodstream. Uremia is life-threatening because too much nitrogen in the blood is toxic to the body. Symptoms of uremia include confusion, loss of consciousness, low urine production, dry mouth, fatigue, weakness, pale skin or pallor, bleeding problems, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), edema (swelling), and excessive thirst. Uremia may also be painful.

Uremia is reversible if treated quickly; however, permanent damage to the kidneys may occur. Kidney failure may also result from the underlying processes that cause uremia.

Treatment for uremia frequently requires hospitalization. It begins with treating the cause of the kidney injury so that nitrogen waste will not continue to build up in the blood. Treatment may require dialysis, which filters the waste out of the blood while the kidneys recover. Fluid therapy, blood transfusions, and blood pressure medications may also be administered. Ongoing treatment after the acute symptoms of uremia have been addressed may include medication, dialysis, or dietary modification.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for any symptoms of uremia. It is important that the cause of your uremia be treated quickly to prevent permanent damage. Symptoms include low urine output, confusion, loss of consciousness, and excessive thirst.


What are the symptoms of uremia?

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.

General symptoms of uremia

Some of the symptoms of uremia may be generalized. These are serious symptoms, and when present with ot... Read more about uremiasymptoms


What causes uremia?

Uremia is caused by any condition that impairs the kidneys’ ability to filter waste products.

Renal causes of uremia

Uremia may arise from any condition that damages the kidney including:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Certain medications, such as high doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or intravenous contrast material
  • Kidne... Read more about uremiacauses


How is uremia treated?

Uremia usually needs to be treated in the hospital. Treatment begins with addressing the cause of low blood flow through the kidneys. Then, it focuses on removing nitrogen waste from the blood stream and restoring blood volume and pressure. Finally, ongoing treatment may be required to prevent and address waste buildup and kidney damage.

Acute uremia treatment

Immediate... Read more about uremiatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System

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