What Is Renal Failure? Stuart Damon of 'General Hospital' Dies at 84

U.S. actor Stuart Damon, star of ABC drama General Hospital has died aged 84 after battling with renal failure, according to ABC 7 news.

Damon was known for his role as Dr. Alan Quartermaine in the long-running daytime soap opera. He also played Prince Charming in a 1965 version of Cinderella.

His death has spurred search queries for "renal failure," another term for kidney failure.

Kidney failure means the kidneys have stopped working and cannot effectively filter out waste from the blood like healthy kidneys can, which can lead to other health problems as a result. Kidney failure may follow on from kidney disease.

Kidney disease is chronic if a patient has had the condition for three months or longer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Kidney failure is acute if it is sudden, in which case it may happen over hours or days.

The kidneys are two organs in the body located on either side of the spine that are responsible for cleaning out waste products from the blood. They also produce hormones that control blood pressure.

There are multiple possible causes for kidney failure, according to UrologyHealth, such as if the kidney is blocked by a kidney stone, if the kidney does not get enough blood, or if the kidney is harmed by high blood pressure or high blood sugar.

Acute kidney failure may cause symptoms such as swelling of the hands, feet, and face; internal bleeding; confusion; seizures; coma; high blood pressure; and decreased urine output. Acute kidney failure can be caused by direct damage to the kidneys.

Chronic kidney disease may not show many symptoms during its early stages, but as kidney function declines, symptoms such as weight loss, nausea, a metal taste in the mouth, abnormal blood and urine tests, loss of appetite, and many more may show up, UrologyHealth states.

Chronic kidney disease may cause the kidneys to fail, or stop working completely. In this case, the affected patient needs to have dialysis—a medical treatment in which waste products are removed from the blood by a machine—or a kidney transplant.

According to the CDC, 15 percent of U.S. adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—around 37 million people.

Chronic kidney disease is more common in people aged 65 or older than in younger patients. It is also slightly more common in women than it is in men.

The CDC adds that preventing type 2 diabetes and managing high blood pressure can help prevent chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.

Stuart Damon
A photo of Stuart Damon, dated 1982. The actor was known for his role in the soap opera "General Hospital." Michael Ochs Archives/Getty