KIDNEY FAILURE SIGNS
The human kidneys are the equivalent of a standard purification system. They work to eliminate harmful toxins from the body by filtering the blood. They are a pair of bean-shaped organs located on alternate sides of the spine, towards the lower back. The kidneys filter the blood to separate toxins that are subsequently transported to the bladder, where they are eliminated from the body through urination. The elimination of toxins from the body is vital to optimum body function and good health.
A problem with the kidneys can lead to a build-up of dangerous toxins in the body which can be fatal if not properly treated. When the kidneys lose their ability to sufficiently filter waste from the blood, it can result in a range of health issues that can progress to kidney failure. A number of causes can contribute to the development of kidney disease, these may include:
- Certain health conditions restrict adequate blood flow to the kidneys such as heart disease, heart attack, liver failure, dehydration, infection, allergic reactions, and a severe burn. Some medications like high blood pressure drugs can also limit blood flow to the kidneys.
- Certain health conditions that interfere with urine passage such as kidney stones, prostate enlargement, the formation of blood clots within the urinary tract, nerve damage associated with bladder control, and cancers like prostate, colon, cervical, and bladder cancer.
- Poorly managed diabetes
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Exposure to toxins from heavy metals
- Some antibiotics
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Lupus; an autoimmune disease that is implicated in organ inflammation
- Formation of blood clots within or around the kidneys
- Certain dyes used for some imaging tests
- Cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells (multiple myeloma)
- Scleroderma (an autoimmune disease that targets the skin)
- Glomerulonephritis ( occurs when the kidney’s small blood vessels become inflamed)
KIDNEY FAILURE SIGNS AND WARNINGS
Pinpointing the signs and symptoms of kidney disease in its early stages can be tricky. This is because people suffering from the disease are mostly asymptomatic. Kidney disease hardly manifests any palpable symptoms until it has progressed to an advanced stage when the kidneys have lost more than 80% of their filtering function. But as tricky as the disease may be, there are some warning signs you can watch out for to prevent terminal kidney failure. Here are 10 kidney failure early signs that you shouldn’t ignore.
- CHANGES IN URINE COLOUR
The color of your urine speaks volumes about the state of your health. Changes in urine color can indicate a potential problem with your health. Signs of kidney failure in urine is the presence of blood. This notifies you that your kidney’s filter has undergone severe damage such that blood cells are able to leak through your urine. Bloody urine can also be a sign of other health issues like kidney stones and infections which are also implicated in kidney damage. However, bloody urine can also be a sign of cancer. Either way, you should get yourself checked the moment you notice traces of blood in your urine. Dark and muddy urine colors shouldn’t be left unchecked too.
- FROTHY OR FOAMY URINE
Kidney failure signs in urine can also manifest as frothy or foamy urine with lots of bubbles. This may be a sign of excess protein in the urine. The presence of protein in urine is a classic indicator of kidney disease. However, urine with bubbles may be a normal occurrence, but if this happens on a regular basis, you should check in with a urologist.
- LOW URINE OUTPUT
The urine sure does it’s best in ringing warning bells for kidney disease and failure. Naturally, we are meant to produce more than a liter of urine in 24 hours. However, there may be a reduction in this quantity because of factors like dehydration and excessive sweating. But a urine output that is extremely low over a prolonged period should be a cause for concern. A case of low urine output that is not resolved by increased water intake should be seen by a urologist as soon as possible.
- LUMBAR PAIN
The kidneys are located on the lower back, directly below the ribs. This is called the lumbar region. Sudden and severe pain that emanates from this region can be a sign of kidney stones or disease. The pain may be accompanied by nausea and a burning sensation during urination. All complaints associated with the lumbar region should be medically investigated.
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- CHANGES IN SKIN TEXTURE
kidney problems first signs can include dry and itchy skin. When the kidneys are not adequately filtering toxins from the body, the effect may first manifest on the skin. The kidneys also work to create a balance of minerals and nutrients in the blood, an imbalance in these constituents can result in dry and itchy skin. Dry skin issues that are resistant to dermatological treatments may indicate a kidney problem. It is recommended that a nephrologist should be seen for proper medical assessment.
- SWELLING OF THE ANKLES AND FEET
A side effect of kidney malfunction is fluid retention. Since the kidneys are unable to adequately eliminate waste including liquid waste, the fluids are retained in the body which causes the ankles, feet, and legs to swell. Sodium retention from kidney impairment can also cause swelling in the lower parts of the body. You should see a nephrologist to address this.
- UNEXPLAINED SHORTNESS OF BREATH
Renal impairment can cause anemia which is characterized by a shortage of red blood cells in the blood. Since the red blood cells carry and distribute oxygen to the body’s organs, a shortage of these cells can translate to Inadequate oxygen supply in the body. This may lead to fatigue and shortness of breath with or without strenuous physical activity. Shortness of breath is a symptom of other health conditions and diseases as well, but if you experience explained shortness of breath, go for a full medical check-up as soon as you can.
- BAGS UNDER THE EYES
We all get puffy eyes or “eye bags” from time to time especially when we accumulate sleep debt. But puffy eyes that remain for a long period of time even after sleeping sufficiently, should be regarded with concern. The waste accumulation that results from kidney damage can manifest as swollen eyes and/or face. In fact, unexplained puffy eyes is an example of kidney issues early signs and should not be taken lightly.
- CHANGES IN APPETITE
A depreciating appetite can be a symptom of several diseases and may not be easily linked to renal problems. But toxin accumulation in the body can affect appetite to a certain degree which may also lead to weight loss. You may experience bad breath and unusual appetite. Severe loss of appetite should be treated with concern especially when it is associated with weight loss. Consult a medical expert for proper medical evaluation if you experience this.
- NAUSEA AND VOMITING
Nausea and vomiting are often linked to digestive issues, but they can also indicate a problem with the kidneys. The accumulation of toxic waste in the blood can cause a condition called Uremia, which is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting along with other symptoms. If you constantly suffer from nausea and vomiting without having digestive issues, you should see a nephrologist to check for kidney impairment.
10 QUICK FACTS ABOUT KIDNEY DISEASE AND FAILURE
- Kidney failure is categorized into four stages according to the severity of symptoms. Stage 1 kidney failure signs are hard to detect as it often presents no symptoms. Stage 2 and 3 are considered mild to moderate and may be detected through the presence of protein in urine and waste in the blood. Stage 4 kidney failure presents more visible symptoms but the kidneys have not completely failed yet. Stage 5 kidney failure is the advanced form of the disease and the kidneys have almost or completely lost their abilities.
- People with diabetes are more predisposed to kidney disease and failure. People who drink alcohol excessively are also at risk of developing kidney disease.
- Kidney failure signs in toddlers may not manifest until they are a bit older. Kidney disease in children usually results from birth defects such as renal agenesis (born with a single kidney), renal dysplasia (born with two kidneys but one is malfunctioning), ectopic kidney ( born with an abnormally localized kidney). Hereditary diseases like polycystic kidney disease and Alport syndrome can also contribute to kidney disease in children.
- What you may assume to be kidney failure signs while pregnant maybe pyelonephritis which is a bacterial infection of the kidneys that affects about 2% of pregnant women. The condition interferes with the normal flow of urine and it is caused by physiological problems during pregnancy, such as high progesterone levels and enlargement of the uterus. The symptoms share similarities with some symptoms of kidney failure.
- Signs kidney failure is getting worse include decreased urine output, unpleasant taste in the mouth and altered sense of taste, feelings of cold, cramping in hands and legs, shortness of breath, increasing fatigue/general body weakness, and severe lower back pain.
- Kidney failure is diagnosed through urine tests (urinalysis), blood tests, imaging (CT scan, ultrasounds, and MRIs), and kidney biopsy (kidney tissue sample analysis).
- Kidney failure is majorly treated using dialysis( which is the use of a machine to filter and purify the blood) and kidney transplant which involves the surgical transfer of a compatible kidney from a donor to the patient. A successful kidney transplant will erase the need for dialysis as the kidney will begin to function properly.
- Immunosuppressive drugs are administered after a transplant to prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney. In some cases, the body may still reject the kidney even after the use of immunosuppressants. This can lead to another kidney failure episode. Signs of kidney failure post-transplant include flu-like symptoms, very high fever, very high blood pressure, sudden weight gain, swollen ankles, and fatigue.
- kidney failure last day signs or signs of kidney failure before death include excess fatigue, dry mouth, pain, poor concentration, drowsiness, swollen arms and legs, constipation, nausea, poor appetite, drowsiness and dyspnea ( respiration difficulties)
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- 10. Can kidney damage be fixed? Chronic kidney disease is often uncurable, but if you are otherwise in a good health condition, it can be reversed with adequate treatment. A kidney transplant may be necessary to get you back on your feet.