As is the case with most diseases that worsen over time, early detection of kidney disease can make a big difference in a sufferer’s long-term quality of life.
Knowing kidney disease symptoms is wise because it can alert you to the ailment’s possible presence in your body.
So have yourself checked!
You do not have to feel sick for yourself to be checked-up by a specialist.
The earlier the detection, the earlier you can start management techniques designed to reduce its deteriorative effects on overall health.
Keep in mind, however, that not all symptoms show up in each individual case. Symptoms also do not typically present with great frequency or urgency in the earlier stages of the disease.
As such, if you already belong to the category of people at higher risk for renal issues or chronic kidney disease (CKD), you should err on the side of caution and get exams regularly to check for CKD, whether you have symptoms or not.
List of Common Symptoms for Those With Kidney Disease
- Nausea – This may or may not be accompanied by vomiting.
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Frequent urge to urinate with very little urine passed when urination is attempted
- Feeling physical pressure or difficulty when urinating – This does not always present as actual pain. However, if your kidney disease also comes with a bladder infection, pain will typically be present during urination.
- Loss of appetite – This is very often accompanied by halitosis (bad breath) as well as an aversion to protein-laden food. The cause is uremia, which is the buildup of waste in one’s blood due to weakened kidney function.
- Pain, often in the back or sides – This is most often found in those who suffer from specific types of kidney disease. Those who have kidney stones and kidney infections, for example, generally complain of acute pains in those areas. The same goes for those who have polycystic kidney disease.
- Edema, usually of the extremities or face – The kidneys’ inability to filter excess fluid out of the blood as usual leads to its buildup in certain areas of the body, typically the hands, ankles, feet, and face. There can be worse issues, though: some experience fluid buildup in the lining of the heart, which can obviously lead to serious cardiac complications. Others suffer from fluid buildup in the lungs, which leads to another common symptom:
- Shortness of breath – As mentioned above, this is often due to fluid buildup in your lungs. A lot of people complain of asthma-like symptoms.
- Muscle twitches – These sometimes come with cramps.
- Hypertension – The kidneys help to maintain regular blood pressure, so those who experience hypertension and seem unable to relieve it may be suffering from some compromised kidney function.
- Persistent, often deep-seated itching – The skin also usually presents as rather dry and pale in most cases where this symptom is present.
- Fatigue – This is often related to the next symptom in this list.
- Anemia – The constant lack of energy and weakness associated with kidney disease is due to the anemic condition it produces. The kidneys are responsible for a hormone named erythropoietin, which tells the body to produce red blood cells (RBC). Compromised kidneys produce less of that hormone, which means fewer RBCs produced.
- Memory loss and other mental problems, like poor concentration
- Weakened bones – This typically happens because of the kidneys’ failure to produce active vitamin D, leading to lower calcium absorption with the food you eat, and weakening bones over time.
Symptoms Relating to the Urine Itself
The above are generally signs to look out for in observing your body and mind. However, inspecting your urine can also lead to some insight as to whether or not you may be suffering from chronic kidney disease.
If you urinate far more than you ever did before and have paler urine than usual, that may be a symptom of kidney issues. The same goes for those who now urinate far less than ever before, but this time with darker urine than usual.
This assumes, though, that you have a fairly regular diet and hydration schedule, and thus cannot blame any fluctuation there for that change in urine quality.
Something is off with red urine!
Probably easier to notice as a symptom would be the presence of red in your urine (bloody urine), as that would be far easier to observe and less directly diet-dependent. You should also watch out for foamy or bubbly urine.
In the absence of certainty as to your symptoms, though, you can go through something even more conclusive: lab tests. Urine tests are fairly affordable and easy to get nowadays, so do not hesitate to have them done if you are worried about your renal health.
You would not need to have them done every month. Annual exams are usually sufficient to give you fair warning if something is off.
Should You Be Worried If You Do Get CKD?
A measure of worry is always expected if you find out that you have a disease.
However, it is very far from being the end of the world—or the end of your life, for that matter.
CKD may be defined as a gradually worsening state of kidney dysfunction, but it does not always lead to actual kidney failure.
As a matter of fact, the number of CKD patients who end up with kidney failure are in a minority: only 20% of those already at Stage 3 of the disease get to the kidney failure stage (and you can still treat that, albeit with rather stronger medicine than CKD, so to speak).
If you do find yourself diagnosed with CKD, don’t fall into despair.
A lot of people manage to live with it happily with the right treatment and maintenance.
One person to turn to is obviously your chosen nephrologist (kidney doctor). He can advise you on the treatments and changes you should make to your lifestyle.
You may also want to try some herbal or naturopathic specialists’ suggestions on the topic if conventional medical methods are not ideal for you.
A good example is The Kidney Disease Solution by naturopath Duncan Capicchiano.
Whichever route you choose to go, rest assured that you will not run out of options. You can still live a full, satisfying life despite CKD.