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Home > Health Hub > Article > 10 Common Signs of Kidney Failure & What You Should Do about It?

10 Common Signs of Kidney Failure & What You Should Do about It?

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   6 min     


According to the National Kidney Foundation of USA, more than 26 million American adults are currently quietly suffering from kidney diseases, yet know nothing about. Yet, you cannot blame people for problems in the kidneys are extremely silent in their onset, they usually show no symptoms until they attain severity.

With the possibility of crippling normal function for the rest of your life, the threat of kidney diseases or kidney failure should be strongly and quickly tackled.

From high blood pressure and diabetes to insufficient water consumption, a lot of factors take part in disturbing normal kidney function.

The lack of kidneys doesn’t necessarily mean the end of life. However, life post kidney failure is extremely difficult and far from desirable. 

What are the symptoms of kidney failure and signs of kidney failure?

1. Increased tiredness, frequent feeling of low energy and lack of concentration. With deteriorating kidney function, there is a buildup of toxins and impurities in one’s bloodstream. Over time, with accumulating waste in the blood, one frequently starts feeling increasingly tired and listless towards work that once wasn’t so tiring. It is an early symptom of kidney failure. 

Another accompanying sign of kidney failure is anemia, which can essentially be described as a lack of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Anemia can be detected by symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath or skin going pale.

2. Dry And Itchy Skin, another sign of kidney failure is dry and itchy skin. Besides removing toxins from the body, the kidneys release hormones (erythropoietin and enzyme renin) that help in attaining a balance of minerals in one’s blood. Once this balance of minerals goes askew, it shows up physically as the dry and itchy skin on the outside.

3. Sleep troubles, when one feels increasingly tired day by day, sleep shouldn’t be very far away, right? In the case of renal failure, wrong. Despite the feeling of tiredness, patients suffering from kidney anomalies find themselves little to no sleep at night. Failure to sleep is a chronic kidney disease symptom, which means, unfortunately, your disease is here to stay.

This lack of sleep can be linked to increased toxicity of blood when renal function isn’t doing its job properly. When victims of kidney failure do find sleep, their sleep might be very disturbed, or they might find themselves suffering from sleep apnea- breathing while sleeping disorder.

4. Increased urge to urinate, contra-indicatively, increased the urge to urinate does not mean improved or vibrant kidney function, it is quite the opposite. Urine flows down a tube called the ureter which empties itself into the bladder.

When the bladder becomes full, one gets the urge to urinate. In normal kidney function, toxins filtered by the kidneys are released in this urine. However, bad kidney function will have a person urinating fluid which is essentially only water without the expected waste product in it.

5. Poor or decreased appetite, while poor appetite is a symptom of many other diseases too, it inevitably shows up during renal failure. 

The reason for decreased appetite can be one or a combination of the following-

  •  A feeling of being full too fast (despite not eating much)

  • A feeling of food tasting strange or a complete lack of taste in food

  • Being too tired to eat food

Minor signs of poor appetite show up with the onset of kidney failure and the problem cements itself once a person reaches stage 4 of kidney disease (a point where dialysis is necessary).

6. Blood in urine output, healthy kidneys filter toxins out of one’s blood and keep the red blood cells within the body. However, when this function is damaged, it causes blood to spill out into the urine, giving urine out accompanied by blood. 

Redness or conspicuous blood in the urine is one of the renal failure’s most common symptoms. Foamy nature of the urine that takes repeated flushes in the toilet to go away is a common sign of renal failure. When improperly processed urine is released, the output is sufficiently rich in a protein known as albumin. This protein causes the urine output to be foamy.

7. Swollen Feet And Ankles, due to the retention of sodium in the bloodstream, one may experience swollen feet and ankles and an accompanying difficulty in walking.

The swelling caused due to renal failure has one stark difference from common swellings. In technical terms, such swelling is known as edema. When pressed inwards, the swelling stays inwards and does not attain its old shape. It has a pulpy and painful feeling to it.

8. Muscle Cramps, electrolyte and mineral imbalances, as noted before, is one of the wrongdoings of kidney disease.

Low calcium levels and poor phosphorus management by the body leads to one facing an incessant number of cramped muscles throughout the day.

9. Acute kidney failure, the above symptoms have been delivered keeping chronic kidney ailments in mind. However, one can have the misfortune of facing acute renal failure, by which all kidney functions disappear suddenly in the blink of an eye.

Acute kidney failure symptoms include decreased urinary output, nausea, fatigue, swelling and shortness of breath. Occasionally, there might be no symptoms at all.

How to prevent kidney failure?

To answer this question, one must revisit the famous one-liner of medicine; prevention is better than cure. A lot of good habits can be practiced to help yourself in lowering the risk of kidney failure. Some are:

  • Drink lots and lots of water. The medical standard is drinking 12 glasses of water a day.

  • Try to quit smoking.

  • Try to avoid partaking in alcohol or at least keep consumption in check. The USA government has set the alcohol limit per day to a minimum of 14 units. 

  • Follow a good and well-balanced diet. Try to eat foods with water content such as watermelon. Eat less salt and fat.

To summarize, chronic kidney disease symptoms are confusing to directly read without a doctor by your side. When diagnosing yourself, the disease may easily escape from your knowledge. Hence, keep your bodily functions always informed to your doctor, so you can nip kidney failure in the bud before it strikes.

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Tags:  kidney, nephrology, water, Diagnostic Tests & Results, Sleeping Disorders, hypertension,kidney, nephrology, kidney treatment

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