Knowing the Signs Can Help You Better Prepare
This article will explore the warning signs of kidney disease and how you can prevent it. Consider trying Procrit, used in the treatment of anemia, often associated with chronic kidney disease, cancer chemotherapy or certain other medical conditions, to increase the red blood cell count and manage fatigue and related symptoms.
Warning Signs of Kidney Disease
Early signs of kidney disease are usually caught before prominent symptoms occur, such as through a routine blood test or check-up. However, some symptoms that may happen when the kidneys begin to experience dysfunction include:
1. You Feel Increasing Fatigue
It may go along with trouble concentrating, causing weakness and exhaustion. This is because reduced kidney function causes a build-up of toxins and waste in the blood. It also may lead to anemia, which can further lead to tiredness. On top of this, you may have difficulty sleeping due to a high toxic load.
2. You Have Shortness of Breath
This may happen due to edema (fluid build-up) around or near the lungs, indicating the kidneys can’t do their job properly. If you experience shortness of breath, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention as this can be a sign of various medical emergencies.
3. You Have Increasingly Dry and Itchy Skin
This can be a sign of mineral imbalances, which, again, suggests the kidneys aren’t properly filtering out excess minerals from the body. However, itchy and dry skin can also be caused by an array of other factors and conditions. Thus, your doctor will take into account other symptoms and tests when making a diagnosis.
4. You Urinate More Frequently or Feel the Urge to Do So
In particular, this is a sign of kidney disease if this is happening more at night. However, this could also indicate a urinary tract infection or an enlarged prostate. At the same time, if you have blood in your urine or notice foamy urine, this is often a clear sign of kidney disease.
5. You Have Swollen Ankles or Feet
As previously mentioned, dysfunctional kidneys cause edema throughout the body. This often leads to swelling in the ankles and feet (We can thank gravity for this one!). Yet, this type of fluid retention may also indicate heart disease, vein problems or liver issues.
6. You Experience a Reduced Appetite
Again, a build-up of toxins in the body can lead to many issues, including difficulties regulating your appetite. As such, you may also experience weight loss.
7. You have Frequent Muscle Cramps
Since the kidneys aren’t properly filtering out vitamins and minerals, this can lead to electrolyte imbalances. Due to the important role of calcium and phosphorous in muscle contractions, this can further cause muscle cramping.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease, generally, refers to damage to the kidneys, causing reduced function. Chronic kidney disease, on the other hand, is the term frequently used when an individual is experiencing kidney failure or is in the more advanced stages of the disease. If kidney damage reaches this point, dialysis is necessary and a kidney transplant may further be required.
So, who's more at risk of kidney disease? Well, this condition happens for a few reasons. Some common reasons kidney disease may arise include:
- High blood pressure.
- Kidney inflammation.
- Obstruction of the urinary tract, such as cancer or UTI.
- Recurring kidney infections.
- Other conditions that impact the kidneys.
Being a smoker, getting diagnosed with heart disease, being older or having an abnormal kidney structure may also increase your risk of eventually developing kidney disease.
The problem with damage to the kidneys is that this ends up impacting every part of the body. It can lead to fluid retention, heart issues, anemia, decreased immunity, pregnancy complications, weak bones and more.
Preventing Kidney Disease & Obtaining Good Kidney Health
Luckily, maintaining good kidney health frequently comes back to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Some ways to prevent kidney disease include:
- Ensuring you carefully follow the instructions when taking medications, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen. It’s also important to avoid long-term use of such medications as this can lead to kidney and gastrointestinal issues.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. This involves a healthy diet, containing primarily whole foods and getting adequate exercise.
- Avoiding smoking. Smoking can lead to kidney damage or make existing kidney damage worse.
- Treat other medical conditions early on and follow the instructions from your doctor. For instance, urinary tract infections can potentially lead to kidney issues, making it important to take antibiotics and listen to the advice of your doctor.
Did you know that diabetes is a significant risk factor for kidney disease, as prolonged high blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys' filtering units? This damage, known as diabetic nephropathy, can lead to kidney disease.
The kidneys sit just below the ribcage and work hard to filter waste and excess fluid from the body—making them critical to overall health and function. When things go wrong with the kidneys, it’s a life-threatening situation.
While about 810,000 Americans live with kidney failure, the sooner kidney disease is discovered, the sooner you can get treatment to prevent organ failure and protect your kidneys at all costs.
The kidneys have an invaluable role in good health. Catching signs and symptoms of poor kidney function early can help you get the treatment you need (and deserve!).