10 Early signs of kidney disease
Kidneys cleanse the blood of waste and remove excess fluid from the body in the form of urine. The decline in the normal working of kidneys is called Kidney Failure. The major cause of kidney failure in India is diabetes followed by high blood pressure.
There might not be clear signs in the early period of onset of Kidney Failure but individuals at risk must be aware and attentive to all signs given below-
- Fatigue- Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone released by healthy kidneys, which tells the body to create more Red Blood Cells (RBC). RBCs are oxygen carriers in blood. Unhealthy kidneys don’t produce as much EPO and therefore RBC decreases in blood. This is called anemia. It may lead to fatigue, weakness and shortness of breath.
- Decreased concentration- When oxygen in the blood decreases, less oxygen goes to the brain and thus cognitive ability tampers. It is seen that the risk of reduced mental ability increases by 23% for individuals with kidney problems.
- Feeling itchy and Dry skin- When the kidneys are unable to filter waste from the blood, the waste concentration in the blood increases. These deposit in blood vessels and the skin which causes itchy skin. The itch may range from mildly irritating to highly disruptive. Patients with renal failure also have dry skin. Dry skin results in lumps, rashes and blisters.
- Tastelessness in food and ammonia breath- The waste that settles in blood, called uremia, causes food to taste metal-like. It also causes bad breath called ammonia breath. It can be a distinctive early sign of kidney issues. These issues can cause loss of appetite and eventually lead to weight loss.
- Upset stomach, nausea- Extra fluid and waste build-up in the body can make you feel sick. Erratic blood pressure can also cause nausea. Healthy kidneys maintain the level of urea in blood by removing wastes. In case of kidney failure the level of urea increases in blood causing low digestion, irregular stools. The color of the stool also changes. This urea build up in blood causes nausea and stomach sickness.
- Swelling and Muscle cramps- Kidney problems can cause excessive fluid retention by the body as the unhealthy kidneys are unable to excrete it. The fluid retention starts in the leg region simply due to gravitational force. But swelling may gradually set up in the hands and even face. Muscle cramps are also a very common sign of kidney failure due to the imbalance of electrolytes and fluids. The accumulation of fluid resulting in swelling of different body parts is known as edema. It is a very common symptom seen in patients with renal failure.
- High blood pressure and Chest pain- high blood pressure due to kidney failure is called renal hypertension or renovascular hypertension. This is caused when the artery supplying blood into the kidney narrows down. Therefore, less blood goes to the kidneys. The body misinterprets this situation as dehydration and kidneys start producing hormones to retain sodium and fluids in the blood. When the sodium level increases in the blood it elevates blood pressure. Most at-risk individuals don’t even show any signs and symptoms of renal hypertension until the point of organ failure. Some of the time the pericardium gets inflamed and causes chest pain.
- Frequent urination- Frequent urination, especially at night, is a sign of kidney failure. In case of renal failure the level of creatinine increases in blood. As the kidney fails to filter the waste products like urea, creatinine from the blood. Post filtration these wastes are expelled from the body in urine. But due to renal failure there is fluid retention and lower amounts of urine is passed.
- Abnormal urine- Urinalysis also called urine test detects abnormal urine. The visual appearance of the urine is altered in patients with renal failure. The colour and clearness of the urine changes. Urine may appear red, tea or cola colour due to the presence of blood in it. The urine starts looking foamy in patients with kidney problems. Dipstick test is performed to check the acidity level and protein trace in urine. Patients with kidney failure will have high acidity levels and protein traces in urine. Looking for the Best kidney hospital in Hyderabad is the right way to go about with the treatment in India, as the Nephrologists there provide high quality treatment at affordable rates.
- Shortness of breath- The main function of the kidney is to maintain the right balance of fluid in our body. But when the kidneys do not work properly, the body starts to retain fluid in excess amounts. Too much fluid in the body is also known as hypervolemia. Extra fluid in the body enters the lungs and causes problems like shortness of breath.
Early detection of kidney failure can help save lives. One should not ignore any of the above mentioned symptoms for a prolonged period. People with comorbidities like blood pressure, diabetes should get themselves checked regularly. Even people with a family history of renal failure should get themselves checked at regular intervals.