Symptoms of kidney disease or chronic kidney disease (CKD) are important to recognize. The symptoms can be subtle and general in nature making it difficult to realize that they are coming from your kidney.
Nevertheless, the symptoms of kidney disease are dangerous, and if allowed to progress or go untreated, may be lethal. Recognizing that you have CKD is the first step in prolonging your life.
What Is Kidney Disease?
In general terms kidney disease is defined as the progressive loss of kidney function over months or years. How fast your kidney disease progresses will depend on many variables including the cause of your CKD.
Controlling the controllable risk factors will help to slow the progression of the disease, minimize your symptoms and allow you to live longer.
Anybody with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or obesity is at risk for kidney disease. Controlling these risk factors slows the progression of the disease.
Other groups that should be alert for any symptoms of kidney disease include people over 60 years old, native Americans, and people who have family members with kidney disease.
Symptoms Of Kidney Disease
The symptoms of kidney disease are related to kidney function. The accumulation of waste products in your blood may cause fluid retention and edema. There may be hypertension, congestive heart failure, or arrhythmias. You may have weakness and fatigue from anemia.
When toxic chemicals buildup in your blood or medications accumulate to toxic levels, they may cause many different types of symptoms.
Some examples and the problems they may cause:
Heart Related Symptoms
One of the important functions of your kidney is the release of renin, which is a hormone that helps to regulate your blood pressure and your body's fluid balance.
All of these symptoms may be subtle or severe. They may be only annoying or they may prevent you from living your life the way you would like.
In all cases they are important to recognize and treat aggressively to prevent or at least slow the progression of your symptoms.
In The Beginning
The most conspicuous function of your kidney is to filter your blood. When this filtration system fails many things can happen. The earliest symptoms begin when your kidneys do not filter your blood as efficiently as they should.
There may be an increased level of creatinine or urea in your blood, or you may begin losing protein in your urine. Creatinine and urea are waste products that should be filtered out of your blood. Proteins are important molecules that should be kept in your blood.
High levels of creatinine or urea in your blood, or protein in your urine is an early sign that your kidneys are not working correctly.
Waste Products In Your Blood
When your kidneys begin to fail toxins and medications that are supposed to be filtered out begin to accumulate, and things that are supposed to stay in the blood may begin to get filtered out.
When your kidneys are not functioning properly, and if this hormone is not being released correctly, you may develop have difficulty controlling your blood pressure.
If your kidneys are not removing water from your body correctly the first sign may be swelling or edema in your feet and ankles. When the fluid accumulates to dangerous levels it may overload your heart(congestive heart failure) or lungs(pulmonary edema).
Weakness And Fatigue
Another important duty of your kidney is to produce erythropoietin (EPO). This important protein acts on the bone marrow to stimulate the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all of the muscles throughout your body.
Anemia occurs when there is a shortage of red blood cells and your muscles do not get all of the oxygen that they need to function correctly.
You may have difficulty walking upstairs, or carrying groceries or performing other activities that you use to do easily. When symptoms are severe you may have difficulty walking across the room.
Don't Ignore Your Symptoms
As you can see all of these most common symptoms are very general in nature and could be caused by many different things. Many of these symptoms are subtle and would be easy to ignore.
If you're having any of these symptoms you should discuss them with your doctor, whether you have risk factors or not. He can evaluate you an order tests to find out what is causing your symptoms and if they are related to your kidneys.
If you have risk factors for CKD you should be extra alert for even the mildest symptoms and have regular checkups with your doctor for blood work and on your urinalysis. With simple tests your doctor can easily spot the earliest symptoms of kidney disease.
Learn More About The Symptoms Of Kidney Disease: