Renal Failure Symptoms may be Subtle.
Learn the early signs of kidney disease

Early renal failure symptoms may be subtle but recognizing them is important to help prevent progression to more serious problems in the future. The earliest symptoms are directly related to the many important functions of your kidney.






When you understand what your kidneys do you can pick up little clues when they are not working as well as they have in the past.

May be related to some other problem

However, these early signs are very general and could show that something else is changing unrelated to your kidneys, or they could mean nothing at all.

Perhaps these changes have occurred because you have recently put on a few pounds, or your diet has not been as good as it could, or maybe you just need some exercise.

Nevertheless, you should always be
alert for changes in your body.

Important functions
of your kidney

Filtering Out Waste Products

Perhaps the most important function of your kidneys is to filter waste products and toxins out of your blood. The byproducts of your metabolism such as urea, uric acid, and creatinine are filtered out into your urine.

Your Kidneys are on the Right
and Left of your Midback

Image thanks to Grays Anatomy, via Wikimedia Commons

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Maintaining Homeostasis

Homeostasis means having the many different parts of your body in balance. Your kidneys play a vital role by excreting just the right amount of water, salt, and other minerals so that your body functions stay in balance.

Regulate Your Blood Pressure

Your kidneys help to regulate your blood pressure by keeping the correct amount of water and other fluids in your bloodstream. Your kidneys also release renin which is an important hormone that works to increase your blood pressure.

Prevent Anemia

Erythropoietin is a another hormone produced by your kidneys. Erythropoietin is released into your bloodstream when your oxygen levels are low; it causes your bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

Early renal failure symptoms will be related to the functions of your kidneys. Over years of living the functions of your kidney may begin to deteriorate. This usually happens very slowly over years and by being alert to subtle changes you can discover a problem before it becomes severe.

The Earliest Renal Failure Symptoms may be Subtle

Your kidneys are very important organs that carry out many different functions to help your body maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis means that all of your body systems are balanced; you have the right amount of fluids, minerals, proteins and other elements to keep your organs functioning correctly. 

Homeostasis means you have the proper balance of chemicals and minerals that your body needs to keep all of your systems coordinated and working properly.

You will notice the earliest renal failure symptoms when one of these systems influenced by your kidneys begins to slip out of homeostasis.

Kidney Stones may cause
Renal Failure Symptoms

Image thanks to Bruce Blaus, via Wikimedia Commons

Swelling in Your Feet or Legs

If your kidneys are not filtering your blood correctly you may have fluid retention and see swelling in your feet and ankles. You may notice that your shoes fit tighter or you cannot get them on at all. 

Weight Gain

When your body is retaining fluid you will also gain weight. When fluid retention is severe it puts an extra load on your heart and when it is very severe fluid may accumulate in your lungs making it difficult for you to breathe.

Monitor your weight regularly. If you begin gaining weight without a reason, or if you begin noticing swelling in your feet and ankles, you need to make an appointment with your doctor.

He can order some simple tests that will rule out any signs of kidney disease.

Early Renal Failure Symptoms that may be more Dangerous

More dangerous earlier renal failure symptoms can develop when your kidneys begin to fail.

They are still related to your kidneys many different functions but instead of developing gradually, one or more of these systems may stop completely.

When you begin to notice these more serious symptoms it is even more important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible. 

Decreased Urination 

You may notice that you seldom urinate in spite of your drinking several glasses of water per day. If you're drinking plenty of water you should feel the need to drain your bladder every few hours.

Difficulty Controlling Your Blood Pressure (too high or too low)

Retaining fluid may cause your blood pressure to be high. If your kidneys are not producing the hormone renin correctly your blood pressure may be low.

Your kidneys help to control your blood pressure in many different ways. If your blood pressure is erratic or not well controlled with your regular medication you may need to have your kidneys checked by a nephrologist (doctor who specializes in kidneys). 

Extreme Fatigue and Weakness

Your kidneys play an important role in the formation of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to your muscles and brain. When your red blood cells are low that is called anemia. It will cause you to feel constantly tired and frail.

Other signs of anemia include pale skin, headaches, dizziness, frequent infections, and weakness.

Shortness of Breath

This may also be related to anemia. When you do not have enough red blood cells you may feel out of breath with the slightest exertion such as walking a short distance or going up a few steps.Severe fluid retention will also cause shortness of breath when your lungs begin to fill up with fluid.

Severe Renal Failure Symptoms 

Renal failure can occur gradually with symptoms that develop over a long period of time.

It can also occur suddenly with life threatening symptoms such as confusion, nausea, seizures and coma that can advance quickly. 

Always watch for changes

You should always monitor your weight and always be alert for any other changes in your body.

Whether it is early renal failure or some other issue, this enables you to pick up subtle changes before they become major problems.

Anytime you began noticing any of these more dangerous symptoms you need to contact your doctor immediately.



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