The human kidneys are one of the most important organs in the body. It filters waste from the blood, produces red blood cells, and strengthens the bones. Despite its several important roles, it can be difficult to ascertain when these organs are not functioning properly, especially during the initial stages of some kidney problems. According to Cynthia Smith who is a nurse working at Renal Consultants, one in three Americans is at risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and only less than 50% of those with severe cases of CKD know they have a problem.
Here are 20 typical signs and symptoms that indicate a kidney problem. If you experience any, consult your doctor as soon as you can. They are:
20 – Shortness of Breath:
This happens when there is not enough blood filtering in your kidneys or excretion of fluid or waste products. According to the Urology Care Foundation, shortness of breath can happen, especially when there is fluid build-up in your lungs.
19 – Foamy Urine:
This often happens during kidney function impairment. The foam is seen as bubbles on urine and won’t burst even when flushed. It is like that seen when scrambling eggs because of albumin present in both eggs and the urine.
18 – Loss of Appetite:
If you lose interest in eating your favorite foods, it could be an indication of a kidney problem. This is caused by a buildup of toxins as a result of reduced kidney function. This was said by the National Kidney Foundation.
17 – Unintentional Weight Loss:
Losing weight is not always a good thing, especially if you were not working towards it. If you realize that you are losing several pounds for no reason, it could be as a result of reduced kidney functionality. In a research study conducted for about six years including 3,933 patients with CKD, it was discovered that weight loss began in the initial stages of CKD.
16 – Confusion:
If details seem fuzzy and you are not your mentally sound, this could be an indication of a kidney problem. In a research study conducted in 2012 by Temple University, there is a strong relationship between reduced kidney functionality and memory issues/cognitive impairment. Also, high levels of calcium present in the body due to kidney cancer can cause confusion.
15 – Back Pain:
This might be one of the most noticeable signs of a kidney problem. Since the kidneys are positioned higher than the abdomen beneath the ribcage, an infection could cause severe pain from the middle to the upper back area. If it becomes more severe, it could be spread to the abdomen and groin.
14 – Blood in the Urine :
This is another noticeable sign of kidney disease. If you see blood in your urine or notice a red or brown color, you should see a doctor as soon as you can.
13 – Chronic Nosebleeds:
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis or GPA is a disease whose symptoms are swelling of blood vessels present in the throat, kidneys, lungs, nose, or sinuses. The American Kidney Fund says that the initial sign of this condition is a runny nose or frequent nosebleeds. Even though the GPA doesn’t affect the kidneys alone, it could result in chronic kidney disease or kidney failure (in severe cases). Speak with your doctor once you frequently experience these symptoms.
12 – Side Pain:
Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salt in the kidneys. They can be extremely painful when passed through the ureter and bladder. According to a Los Angeles-based urologist named S. Adam Ramin, MD, the pain can be compared to that of childbirth. How to distinguish the pain is that it comes from your sides and back in waves. This is like that of a kidney infection.
11 – Gum Disease:
Having bad breath is not the only symptom of kidney disease in the mouth. These diseases can cause gum diseases which can lead to decay and teeth loss. A meta-analysis carried out in 2013 shows that most periodontal diseases like dry mouth and overgrown gums are caused by chronic kidney disease than other serious kidney problems.
10 – High Blood Sugar:
It has been shown by the National Kidney Foundation that diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure. It is responsible for about 44% of all cases. Diabetes causes a lot of damage in the kidneys to the red blood cells and often leads to diabetic kidney disease that leads to more reduced kidney function.
9 – Swollen Hands and Feet:
Since kidneys oversee excessive water filtering in the body, if they are not functioning properly, the water can build-up and cause swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet. This is a sign of heart failure so do not ignore it.
8 – Constipation:
Although kidney issues don’t affect the urinary tract, they can cause bowel problems. An oncologist Przemyslaw Twardowski, MD said kidney cancer can affect the chemical balance of the body by causing an excessive presence of calcium. This can cause constipation. See a healthcare provider to check your calcium levels if you suspect anything.
7 – Bad Breath:
When your kidneys are not filtering properly, the waste can end up in other places. Jennifer Schau’s website says that a foul odor from your mouth might be detected as kidney functionality reduces. This means you have bad breath. Advanced kidney diseases can negatively change the way you taste high-protein foods. These foods break into nitrogen and creatinine which are waste products that cannot be easily filtered out of the bloodstream.
6 – Nausea:
The movement of a kidney stone from the kidney to ureter can cause urine blockage. Most signs of this are swelling, pain that might be associated with nausea and vomiting.
5 – Swelling Around the Eyes:
Kidney disease can cause the presence of excess amounts of sodium and fluid in the body. This can lead to swelling in different body areas, especially the eyes when it is kidney-related. For nephrotic syndrome, there is excess protein in the urine and swelling can happen because of low blood albumin levels.
4 – Frequent Urination:
If you notice that you have the urge to urinate frequently, it could be an indication of kidney disease. If the kidney filters are not working properly, there is an urge to urinate frequently at night. This frequent urination can be caused by urinary tract infections and diabetes, see a doctor as soon as you can.
3 – Chronic Itching:
The presence of excessive urea in the blood can cause severe itching which shouldn’t be ignored. This is often caused by kidney malfunction. A 2015 Seminars in Nephrology paper published showed that over 40% of patients diagnosed with late-stage kidney disease develop chronic itching or pruritus.
2 – Dizziness:
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease says that patients diagnosed with kidney failure develop anemia because there is a decrease in the production of erythropoietin or EPO which is a hormone that triggers red blood cell production. A common symptom is a dizziness, others are paleness, weakness, difficulty in breathing, and headaches.
1 – Fatigue :
While the early stages of kidney disease may present with few symptoms, “fatigue is an often-experienced symptom of kidney disease, especially in the later stages,” write the experts at Dr. Lam Coaching.
This is often the result of lower red blood cell production associated with kidney health issues, which leads to inadequate blood and oxygen supply throughout the body. “A reduced amount of oxygen to the cells leads to feelings of fatigue,” according to Dr. Lam Coaching.