Unfortunately, many of us do not realize our health is in jeopardy until it’s too late. Once key symptoms surface, that is when we seek professional, medical assistance. In some cases, by the time symptoms surface, the condition becomes much harder to treat. This is often seen among those who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
When it comes to your kidneys, how will you know if something is wrong? If you believe something is abnormal, what could those symptoms mean? Since some signs can be quite subtle, it’s important to catch them early on, as this will prevent permanent damage.
Are Your Kidneys In Danger? Look For Those Warning Signs
Reduced kidney function can occur based on a wide range of conditions. With that being said, the most common cause of kidney dysfunction is generally the natural aging process. It’s critical that you pay attention to your kidneys as you age, especially because optimal function becomes even more crucial as we advance in age.
The kidneys play a key role in terms of your body’s pH, promoting acid/alkaline balance. They also filter out toxins and determine which nutrients need to be excreted or recirculated throughout the body. If you experience any of the following warning signs, it’s imperative that you seek a professional opinion.
- Changes in urine output
Urinary changes can occur based on what you eat, drink, and even the medications you take. This is why it’s important to pay attention to factors such as frequency, color and overall output. Since the kidneys produce urine, any concerning changes often point to potential kidney problems.
Please be aware of changes such as; difficulty passing urine, blood in the urine, urinating less often, dark urine, bubbly or foamy urine, and awaking often feeling an urgency to urinate. As soon as you notice changes, take notes the next few times you pass urine. If nothing changes or symptoms worsen, seek immediate medical attention.
Both vomiting and nausea are a sign that your kidneys may be in trouble. Before you panic, there are plenty of other possibilities when it comes to this symptom. From the flu to high stress levels, vomiting and nausea can mean a lot of things. With that being said, if you experience any other symptom in conjunction with being sick, this will be cause for concern.
As you can imagine, if something is wrong with your kidneys, toxins will build up in your system. Your body wants to naturally eliminate these toxins and poisons, which leads to feelings of extreme nausea. Once again, make note of any other changes or symptoms that your doctor should be aware of.
Once again, fatigue is nothing to be alarmed over. Everyone experiences fatigue from time to time and even if you’re suffering from chronic fatigue, that does not necessarily mean you have developed kidney problems. With that being said, when the kidneys are stressed, they do not produce enough EPO — a hormone that stimulates the production of oxygen-rich blood cells.
If you’re experiencing itchy rashes, this could be due to a buildup of uric acid and waste. As they accumulate in your body, you can experience itchy patches on your skin. When using topical treatments, they won’t generally help, as the itching will feel as though it’s below the skin.
- Swollen feet
When your kidneys are not functioning properly, you will generally experience fluid retention. As your kidneys promote balance and deliver nutrients, they do so based on the regulation of water. If they are not functioning properly, fluid may build up in your tissues. More often than not, you will notice that your feet and ankle are swelling, however, you hand, legs, and face may also swell.
- Muscle cramping
When kidney function is impaired, you can develop muscle cramping based on electrolyte imbalances. For example, if your body has low levels of calcium and poorly regulated phosphorus levels, muscle cramping will commonly occur. More often than not, individuals experience cramping in their legs.
- Bad Taste in Mouth
Many patients who experience issues with their kidneys will complain of a bad taste in their mouth — almost as if they’re drinking iron. As waste builds up in the body, better known as uremia, it can make food taste off and cause bad breath. This ultimately leads to a loss of appetite and many patients begin to lose weight.
As mentioned, if you notice one sign only, such as fatigue or nausea, there’s no reason to become overly alarmed. Pay close attention to your urine and document any changes that occur. The moment you feel as though something isn’t quite right, seek a second opinion. Like any condition, the earlier you intervene, the better.