Your kidneys work hard filtering your blood of impurities, regulating your blood pressure, and maintaining optimal levels of many important fluids and other substances in your body. If you have kidney disease, all of those functions can be compromised, which can lead to serious health problems and, in severe cases, death.
About 37 million Americans have kidney disease, and nearly a million live with kidney failure. The key to preventing serious complications is to seek treatment as early as possible — and that means learning to recognize its symptoms.
At Houston Kidney Specialists Center, with multiple locations in Houston and Cypress, Texas, our team offers state-of-the-art care for patients in all stages of kidney disease. In this post, learn what symptoms to look for so you can be proactive in seeking treatment.
Your kidneys release waste products through urination, and if your kidney function is compromised, it can have a direct impact on your urine and urination. You might notice that you need to urinate more often or less often, or you might have increased urgency to urinate. Your urine itself may be foamy, dark, or tinged with blood. It might also have an unpleasant odor.
Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
If your kidneys aren't able to filter your blood effectively, waste products can build up, which can lead to nausea and vomiting. Some people may develop a metallic taste in their mouths that can lead to a loss of appetite.
Weakness and fatigue
Your kidneys make chemicals that trigger the development of new, healthy red blood cells. When kidney function is compromised, that process is disrupted, and that can lead to anemia or low levels of red blood cells, along with feelings of fatigue and weakness. The buildup of toxins in your bloodstream can also lead to feelings of weakness and extreme fatigue, even after getting a good night’s sleep.
Swelling or puffiness
Your kidneys play an important role in balancing your bodily fluids. Kidney disease interferes with fluid excretion, which means fluids can collect in your tissues and cause swelling. While you can have swelling almost anywhere, it often happens first in the legs, ankles, feet, hands, and face.
Shortness of breath
Your limbs aren’t the only parts of your body affected by fluid buildup. When fluids collect around your lungs, you can develop shortness of breath (also called dyspnea).
Muscle cramps or twitches
The kidneys also help balance your body’s stores of electrolytes, which are special chemicals that carry tiny bursts of electricity. In kidney disease, electrolyte imbalances can lead to muscle cramps or twitches, especially in the legs.
High blood pressure
Kidney disease and hypertension share a bidirectional relationship: Fluid buildup can lead to high, hard-to-control blood pressure, while hypertension increases your risk of developing kidney disease and suffering kidney damage
Waste product accumulation can affect pretty much any organ, including your skin. Many people with kidney disease develop rashes or itching that can become intense.
Kidney disease symptoms can be subtle and difficult to detect in their earliest stages. If you have any of these symptoms — even if they’re mild — having them evaluated right away is important for ensuring you get treatment as early as possible.
To learn more about kidney disease and its treatment, call 281-429-8780 or request an appointment online with Houston Kidney Specialists Center today.