The Signs & Symptoms of a Kidney Problem

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There are more than 26 million Americans with Chronic Kidney Disease. Global authorities insist it's on the way to epidemic status. Yet most people are unaware othey are developing a problem until the illness takes full effect. Understanding the signs and symptoms of a kidney problem can help you attack the disease early.

Beginnings

Chronic Kidney Disease is diagnosed when a person suffers from gradual and often permanent loss of kidney function over a period of months or years. The kidneys are weakened, with lessened ability to properly process waste. While a variety of disorders lead to CKD, in two out of three cases, it is a result of diabetes and high blood pressure. As CKD progresses, it may lead to kidney failure, requiring either dialysis or need for a transplant. The signs and symptoms of a kidney problem are diverse.

Urine

A change in urination habits may be one of the signs or symptoms of kidney problems. Individuals often notice an increased need to urinate during the night. In some instances, the flow may be much larger than normal while in others, what feels like a pressing need to go, may result in nothing more than a few drops. Urine may be foamy or bubbly, cloudy, pale or streaked with droplets of blood. Some individuals may see the color darken tremendously, with heavy blood inclusion. This darker hue is usually present when the stream of urine is very small or the need to relieve yourself occurs less frequently.

Swelling

Water retention increases in the body as the kidneys fail in the effort to properly process fluid; this causes your feet, ankles, legs, hands and face to swell. Initially, patients will notice a difficulty fitting into shoes, and puffiness and swelling will occur around the eyes, especially in the morning.

Bad Breath

A metallic taste often occurs, sometimes accompanied by breath that smells of ammonia. This is the result of a buildup of a waste called uremia in the blood. In addition to loss of appetite, foods may taste different, and some people lose interest in eating specific items like meat products.

Fatigue/Anemia

Kidneys produce a hormone that prompts the body to build the red-blood cells necessary to carry oxygen throughout the system. When kidneys fail, this hormone is reduced, and transportation of energy-enhancing oxygen is limited, causing the brain and muscles to tire quickly. This condition is called anemia. Feelings of dizziness and an inability to concentrate are related to anemia, as the brain is unable to receive the amount of oxygen it needs to function properly. Shortness of breath occurs as a result of both anemia and a build-up of fluid in the lungs related to the inability to regulate water in the body. Anemia also causes chills and a sensation of being cold at all times.

Other Symptoms

The increased waste in the blood results in additional signs and symptoms of a kidney problem, like dry skin, rashes and heavy itching. Some patients say they can feel the itching deep down into the bone with no amount of scratching relieving the sensation. Increased toxins in the body also result in regular nausea and vomiting as the system tries other ways to rid itself of poisons. Increased pain in the legs, flanks or back may be emanating from the affected kidneys and often is a sign of a specific type of kidney disorder called polycystic kidney disease

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