A patient with renal failure secondary to diabetic nephropathy has been admitted to the medical unit. What is the most life-threatening effect of renal failure for which the nurse should monitor the patient?

Answer Explanation: Retention of potassium is the most life-threatening effect of renal failure. Aldosterone causes the kidney to excrete potassium, in contrast to aldosterones effects on sodium described previously. Acidbase balance, the amount of dietary potassium intake, and the flow rate of the filtrate in the distal tubule also influence the amount of potassium secreted into the urine. Hypocalcemia, the accumulation of wastes, and lack of BP control are complications associated with renal failure, but do not have same level of threat to the patients well-being as hyperkalemia.

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