7 signs of the body which shows that your kidney is in danger
As important as your kidneys are to your health (including your bone health), symptoms of their malfunction can be quite subtle. Yet early detection is crucial for preventing permanent kidney damage, so it’s vital to recognize the signs that something is not right with these detoxification organs.
In today’s post, you’ll learn about eight early warning signs that could mean your kidney function is not up to par, and what to do about it.
Let’s get started!
Kidney Function Declines With Age
It’s especially important to pay attention to your kidneys as you get older, because their function tends to decline in the later adult years (more on this later). In fact, and especially as it relates to your bone health, kidney function becomes even more crucial as we advance in years, because they are key players in the acid/alkaline balance in the body.
As Savers know, this balance is at the very heart of the Save Our Bones Program’s drug-free osteoporosis treatment. In addition to balancing the pH, the kidneys also filter out bone-damaging toxins and “decide” which vitamins and minerals need to be excreted or put back into circulation. Unfortunately, osteoporosis drugs have also been implicated in kidney damage, adding yet another compelling reason to avoid them.
As you can see, the kidneys are at the center of your bone health. So it’s vital to keep track of their function.
Are You Experiencing Any Of These Symptoms?
1. Swollen Feet, Ankles, Face, Or Other
Fluid retention is a definite sign that something is up with your body’s excretory system. One of the primary ways the kidneys keep your body balanced and deliver nutrients is by regulation of water. If these organs are not functioning well, fluid can accumulate in your tissues. Usually, you notice the swelling at your ankles, feet, face, or hands. Your legs might also swell.
2. Changes In Your Urine – Appearance, Frequency, Etc.
It makes sense to pay attention to urinary output, color and frequency when you’re taking note of your kidney function. After all, producing urine is one of the main things the kidneys do, so if you see any of the following changes, it might signal a kidney problem:
• Urination is difficult.
• You see blood in your urine.
• Urination occurs less frequently, and when you do go, it appears very dark.
• On the other hand, an increase in urine output and a lighter color can also indicate a problem (if it can’t be attributed to something obvious, such as drinking a lot of water).
• Urine appears foamy or bubbly.
• You wake during the night (sometimes more than once) with the urgent need to go.
3. Nausea And Vomiting
It’s understandable that you’d feel nauseated if your kidneys are letting “garbage” pile up in your system (the term for this phenomenon is “uremia”). Your body feels the need to expel the poisons, which can manifest as nausea and the feeling that you need to vomit. Sometimes, vomiting actually does occur.
4. Feeling Tired Or Sluggish During The Day
Everyone has a day when they feel tired – maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, or ate the wrong foods, or some other temporary factors are at play. But sometimes, fatigue is caused by lack of a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. The main function of EPO is to stimulate the production of red blood cells, and red blood cells carry energizing oxygen to cells throughout your body.
Stressed kidneys do not produce enough EPO, thereby reducing the number of red blood cells and making you feel weak and tired out.
5. Pain In Your Legs
If your kidneys are the cause of leg discomfort or pain, it’s usually located in the back of your legs. It can even migrate to your lower back, and can range from a feeling of muscle tightness to significant pain.
Kidney stones produce severe pain, usually in the back. Pain can also mean a kidney infection, which may be accompanied by a bladder infection as well. In some cases, the kidneys and liver might have cysts, which can be quite painful.
6. A Bad Taste In Your Mouth
If your kidneys are not removing toxins, they accumulate in your body (uremia). This can cause a metallic taste in your mouth, and produce bad breath. You might also find that food doesn’t taste the same, particularly meats. (This is interesting to note in light of the research we’re going to look at later, which connects a high-meat diet with kidney stress.) This dulls your appetite, which in turn can cause weight loss.
7. Itchy Rashes
When uric acid and waste products accumulate, the resulting buildup can cause itchy patches on your skin. Rashes are a vague symptom that can be caused by a number of factors; but those that result from kidney malfunction feel “deeper.” Topical treatment doesn’t help very much, because the itch feels like it extends below the skin’s surface. Uric acid-induced rashes can also manifest as little red bumps, not unlike acne.
As I mentioned earlier, your kidneys produce red blood cell-stimulating EPO. Without enough EPO, you can’t make enough red blood cells, which can result in anemia. Anemia can manifest in a myriad of symptoms, including feeling winded and out of breath, feeling chilly even if your surroundings are warm, and dizziness. The reason for all of these symptoms is a systemic lack of oxygen (delivered by red blood cells).
What Causes Kidney Malfunction?
A major culprit of kidney problems is an acidic diet (consumed by the majority of the population). A brand-new study sheds light on the renal problems that can be caused by a high-acid, meat-rich diet.
The study followed 1,500 people with kidney disease for a period of 14 years. Participants who ate a diet high in meat came very close to experiencing complete kidney failure, while those who ate more fruits and vegetables did not even come close to kidney failure. Researchers estimate that an acidic diet can make it three times more likely for your kidneys to fail.1
Says lead study author Dr. Tanushree Banejee,
“Patients with chronic kidney disease may want to pay more attention to diet consumption of acid rich foods to reduce progression to kidney failure…dialysis treatments…may be avoided by adopting a more healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.”1
Why Wait Until Your Kidneys Are Diseased?
While the study was conducted on people with kidney disease, we could safely extrapolate the recommendations to those who want to avoid kidney disease and achieve optimal kidney function now, especially as we age.
In fact, additional research points to the actuality of physiological changes in the kidneys as we age. The research notes that a progressive reduction of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal blood flow (RBF) are observed in conjunction with aging. The reason for these phenomena is a decrease in the plasma flow in the glomerulus, a bundle of capillaries that partially form the renal corpuscle.2
In addition, the aging kidneys experience other structural changes, such as a loss of renal mass, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli that constrict or dilate blood vessels. The study concludes with a notable summation:
“…age-related changes in cardiovascular hemodynamics, such as reduced cardiac output and systemic hypertension, are likely to play a role in reducing renal perfusion and filtration. Finally, it is hypothesized that increases in cellular oxidative stress that accompany aging result in endothelial cell dysfunction and changes in vasoactive mediators resulting in increased atherosclerosis, hypertension and glomerulosclerosis.”2
For those who have suffered, are suffering or know someone suffering from liver disease know that it is a silent killer. What makes it even more dangerous is that it gets diagnosed at very late stages for most people.
Not many individuals are educated enough to know that the symptoms of kidney disease are not silent, but are redundant enough to not care. Unfortunately in some cases, the symptoms may not even become present until the condition is critical.
So this makes knowing and recognizing the symptoms that much more crucial. Here are the top 12 signs of kidney disease that you need to be aware of.
Changing of Your Urinary Function: The first telltale sign of kidney disease is the change in the amount and frequency you urinate. You could see a dramatic increase or decrease in the amount of urine you pass. At times you might also notice your urine change into a darker color.
You might also feel this extreme urge to urinate but are unable to once you reach the washroom. The bottom line is that if you sense a change in your urinary function, it’s best to start paying attention and making notes of your daily visits to the washroom.Giulio_Fornasar/shutterstock.com
Difficulty or Pain While Urinating: You might have difficulty, or feel pressure or pain while trying to empty your bladder. This could mean that you have developed a urinary tract infection.
This is easily curable, but it is best to catch it early because it has the potential to spread to your kidneys, you might develop a fever and pain in your neck.
Blood in the Urine: This is one of the symptoms that cannot be missed and is a direct cause for concern. So if you see this, do not ignore it.
Blood in the urine is a direct symptom of kidney disease. You need to visit your doctor immediately if this symptom has surfaced. Because blood in the urine could also be associated to several bladder cancers.
Foamy Urine: I know you’re probably thinking that a lot of these symptoms have to do just with the bladder, but because the bladder and kidneys are so connected, they bladder is the first to be affected if the kidneys are failing.
Swelling or Oedema: All the excess waste and fluids in your body is removed by your kidneys. When they can no longer do that, this extra waste and fluid builds up in your body. When this occurs, the person will experience swelling of the feet, ankles, puffiness in the face and tightness in their hands.
Extreme Fatigue: When your kidneys are functioning properly, they’re producing a hormone called erythropoietin, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen. When your kidneys malfunction, the levels of this hormone drop drastically. This sudden drop in red blood cells causes your body weak and fatigue.
Dizziness and Inability to Concentrate: When your kidneys are causing you to become fatigue, this lack of oxygen also affects the brain. This may cause you to become dizzy and find it difficult to concentrate as well. The reason is that when the brain is lacking oxygen, it functions slower.
Feeling Constantly Cold: When your body becomes anaemic, which can be caused by kidney disease, it can also cause you to become cold in areas that are warm. Pyelonephritis, which is a kidney infection, can also cause a fever and chills.
Skin Rashes and Itching: This symptom can often be commonly confused with other conditions such as allergies, but the rashes could be a symptom of kidney disease and failure. What causes this is renal failure, which also causes waste to build up in your blood. This is what causes severe itching and skin rashes.
Ammonia Breath and Metallic: Kidney failure increases the level of urea in the blood. When this occurs, the urea is broken down into ammonia in the saliva which causes urine-like bad breath called ammonia breathe.
Nausea and Vomiting: If your kidneys are failing, you will experience constant nausea and vomiting. It won’t be a one-time-thing. You will experience this more often than not. The reason for this is the build-up of waste products needs to leave the body, which is why it results in vomit.
Shortness of Breath: If the kidney disease has become severe enough, it can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs which can leave you with a feeling of breathlessness. In relation, if your body suffers from anemia, another kidney disease, it will starve your body of oxygen.
It’s important to remember that if you have any of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have kidney damage. Many of these symptoms are part of other diseases and infections, but they are worth looking into or consulting your doctor about if you experience them. They can save your kidneys and potentially your life.