What is Azotemia?
Azotemia refers to a condition wherein there is an abnormality in the nitrogen compounds present in blood. When patients have this condition, the compounds that contain nitrogen, such as creatinine and urea, reach abnormal and very toxic high levels. This medical condition is also referred to as nephrotoxicity because it involves the inability of the kidneys to filter the compounds in blood efficiently. When this condition is left unattended to, it may lead to total renal or kidney failure.
There are three types of Azotemia. The first type is called Prerenal Azotemia and this condition is caused by a decrease in blood flow to the kidneys. This is the most common type of azotemia and this may result from abnormalities in the heart’s pumping ability. With problems in the pumping of blood from the heart, blood flow to the organs like the kidneys will be impaired. The second type of azotemia is Intrarenal Azotemia and this pertains to azotemia that occurs because of internal damage in the kidneys. This type may be due to certain drugs like antibiotics and NSAIDS, chemotherapy, and other medical conditions that affect the kidneys. The third type of azotemia is called Post-renal Azotemia and this type is secondary to an obstruction on the part below the kidneys. When something is blocked below the kidney level, the flow of urine will be impeded causing the abnormalities in the level of nitrogen in the kidneys.
Signs and symptoms of azotemia include anuria, oliguria, confusion, body weakness, increased heartbeat, pale skin, dryness in the mouth, increased thirst, and orthostatic type of blood pressure among others. When symptoms are noticed, people are advised to seek immediate medical attention. People with azotemia are usually advised on proper diet to help ease the symptoms of this condition. Several drugs may also be prescribed including antibiotics, insulin, and amifostine among others.