Kidney damage is any sort of injury or impairment that affects the overall function of these organs. Also referred to as renal damage, an arterial blockage is just one potential cause of the condition, but you may also suffer harm to the kidney due to infections, medications, toxins, surgical procedures or even an autoimmune disorder, such as diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. When one or both of your kidneys suffers from damage, regardless of the actual cause, there are a number of symptoms that can help indicate the problem.
Pain is probably the most common symptom of a damaged kidney. However, this pain doesn't necessarily manifest in the same way in every person. For some people, the pain is felt within the abdominal region of the body that is sometimes accompanied by abdominal distention. For others, pain is isolated to the right or left side of the torso, depending on the affected kidney. You may even experience pain within your back. As well as a difference in the location of the pain, the intensity of the sensation can also vary from person to person, ranging from a dull throb to a shooting pain.
Renal damage can also prompt some discoloration of the skin. And much like pain, this symptom isn't the same in each individual. In some cases, your skin may become quite pale and cool to the touch or even feverish. With others, jaundice may set in, causing the skin (and sometimes eyes) to take on a yellowish hue. This yellowing is often an indication of kidney failure.
It is also common for kidney damage to cause a disruption in urination. In this situation, you may begin to notice a decrease in urine production, sometimes to the point of no urine at all. Some people experience a change in urine consistency, becoming cloudier, hazier or darker than normal. Others may find the presence of blood in their urine, causing the fluid to turn pink, red or even brown.
Sometimes, renal damage can cause cardiovascular issues, prompting high blood pressure, rapid heart rate or racing heartbeat. When this occurs, you are at an increased risk of developing more serious complications, such as arterial damage, stroke and even heart failure.
Kidney damage can trigger some issues involving your digestion. In some cases, you may begin to experience periodic episodes of nausea or vomiting. You could also begin to suffer from constipation, making difficult for you to pass stool or stool is tarry and harder than normal. It is also possible, especially in chronic or prolonged damage, for you to suffer from an unexplained weight loss.
You may also begin to suffer from disturbances in you cognition, becoming more lethargic or unaware of your surroundings. You may feel listless and unexpectedly fatigued or weak. In other situations, you may begin to suffer from sleep disruptions or periodic headaches.