Many factors that influence the speed of kidney failure are not completely understood. Researchers are still studying how protein in the diet and cholesterol levels in the blood affect kidney function.
Acute Kidney Injury
Some kidney problems happen quickly, such as when an accident injures the kidneys. Losing a lot of blood can cause sudden kidney failure. Some drugs or poisons can make the kidneys stop working. These sudden drops in kidney function are called acute kidney injury (AKI). Some doctors may also refer to this condition as acute renal failure (ARF). AKI may lead to permanent loss of kidney function. But if the kidneys are not seriously damaged, acute kidney disease may be reversed.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Most kidney problems, however, happen slowly. A person may have "silent" kidney disease for years. Gradual loss of kidney function is called chronic kidney disease (CKD) or chronic renal insufficiency. People with CKD may go on to develop permanent kidney failure. They also have a high risk of death from a stroke or heart attack.
End-stage Renal Disease
Total or nearly total and permanent kidney failure is called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). People with ESRD must undergo dialysis or transplantation to stay alive.