12 symptoms of kidney disease you shouldn't ignore
Most people are not aware of the fact that kidney diseases can be silent killers. They may not show any symptoms for a long time till the situation becomes critical. It is important to recognize the symptoms of kidney diseases to catch them early. Here is a list of twelve such symptoms you should look out for:
- Changes in your urinary function: The first symptom of kidney disease is changes in the amount and frequency of your urination. There may be an increase or decrease in amount and/or its frequency, especially at night. It may also look more dark coloured. You may feel the urge to urinate but are unable to do so when you get to the restroom.
- Difficulty or pain during voiding: Sometimes you have difficulty or feel pressure or pain while voiding. Urinary tract infections may cause symptoms such as pain or burning during urination. When these infections spread to the kidneys they may cause fever and pain in your back.
- Blood in the urine: This is a symptom of kidney disease which is a definite cause for concern. There may be other reasons, but it is advisable to visit your doctor in case you notice it.
- Swelling: Kidneys remove wastes and extra fluid from the body. When they are unable to do so, this extra fluid will build up causing swelling in your hands, feet, ankles and/or your face.
- Extreme fatigue and generalised weakness: Your kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin which helps make red blood cells that carry oxygen. In kidney disease lower levels of erythropoietin causes decreased red blood cells in your body resulting in anaemia. There is decreased oxygen delivery to cells causing generalised weakness and extreme fatigue.
- Dizziness & Inability to concentrate: Anaemia associated with kidney disease also depletes your brain of oxygen which may cause dizziness, trouble with concentration, etc.
- Feeling cold all the time: If you have kidney disease you may feel cold even when in a warm surrounding due to anaemia. Pyelonephritis (kidney infection) may cause fever with chills.
- Skin rashes and itching: Kidney failure causes waste build-up in your blood. This can causes severe itching and skin rashes.
- Ammonia breath and metallic taste: Kidney failure increases level of urea in the blood (uraemia). This urea is broken down to ammonia in the saliva causing urine-like bad breath called ammonia breath. It is also usually associated with an unpleasant metallic taste (dysgeusia) in the mouth.
- Nausea and vomiting: The build-up of waste products in your blood in kidney disease can also cause nausea and vomiting.
- Shortness of breath: Kidney disease causes fluid to build up in the lungs. And also, anaemia, a common side-effect of kidney disease, starves your body of oxygen. You may have trouble catching your breath due to these factors.
- Pain in the back or sides: Some cases of kidney disease may cause pain. You may feel a severe cramping pain that spreads from the lower back into the groin if there is a kidney stone in the ureter. Pain may also be related to polycystic kidney disease, an inherited kidney disorder, which causes many fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys. Interstitial cystitis, a chronic inflammation of the bladder wall, causes chronic pain and discomfort.
It is important to identify kidney disease early because in most cases the damage in the kidneys can’t be undone. To reduce your chances of getting severe kidney problems, see your doctor when you observe one or more of the above symptoms. If caught early, kidney disease can be treated very effectively. Tasly products is very good on this.
Illustration of the kidneys, urinary tract, and bladder.
The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess water from the blood. The kidneys process about 200 liters of blood every day and produce about 2 liters of urine. The waste products are generated from normal metabolic processes including the breakdown of active tissues, ingested foods, and other substances. The kidneys allow consumption of a variety of foods, drugs, vitamins and supplements, additives, and excess fluids without worry that toxic by-products will build up to harmful levels. The kidney also plays a major role in regulating levels of various minerals such as calcium, sodium, and potassium in the blood.
- As the first step in filtration, blood is delivered into the glomeruli by microscopic leaky blood vessels called capillaries. Here, blood is filtered of waste products and fluid while red blood cells, proteins, and large molecules are retained in the capillaries. In addition to wastes, some useful substances are also filtered out. The filtrate collects in a sac called Bowman's capsule.
- The tubules are the next step in the filtration process. The tubules are lined with highly functional cells which process the filtrate, reabsorbing water and chemicals useful to the body while secreting some additional waste products into the tubule.
The kidneys also produce certain hormones that have important functions in the body.