Renal problems cause a decline in the functional capacity of kidneys single or both. This is a gradual process that occurs over stages. Different symptoms characterize different stages. Detecting early symptoms is the key to treat the disease successfully and to prevent kidney failure.
Changes in Urination Patterns
Changes in the amount and frequency of urine are the most conspicuous symptoms of kidney problems. Mostly, there is an increase in urination especially at night. However, one may also urinate less and less often than normal. A person feels the urge to urinate, but when he goes to the restroom to relieve himself, he is unable to do so. Other symptoms are similar to the signs of a urinary tract infection such as difficulty (pain and burning sensation) in urinating, urine discoloration (dark colour) and fever. Slight blood spotting in the urine is a serious concern and calls for immediate medical attention.
Fatigue and Depression
Feeling fatigued is a common symptom of kidney disease. Kidneys release a hormone called erythropoietin. This hormone is responsible for the synthesis of red blood cells. In absence of proper kidney function, the body stops producing enough erythropoietin. Thus, the body is unable to distribute oxygen from the lungs to the different parts of the body. This results in a feeling of lethargy.
Swollen Feet/ Edema
The main function of the kidneys is to filter the blood of excess minerals, wastes and toxins. Dysfunctional kidneys are unable to perform this function efficiently resulting in a toxic build-up in the bloodstream. Waste water is retained in the body tissues. Fluid build-up causes swelling under the eyes, around the ankles and wrists. This condition is called edema.
Nausea and Diarrhoea
The accumulation of wastes in the blood leads to bouts of nausea and vomiting. Nausea generally occurs in the morning. However, in persons suffering acute kidney disease it is more frequent. Nausea is often accompanied by diarrhoea. There is loss of appetite too.
Lower Back Pain
Muscle cramps and twitches are also common in kidney diseases. The pain is severe and prominent in the lower back region. Inflamed kidneys also cause recurring headaches.
Sleep and Concentration Problems
Many individuals have trouble maintaining a proper sleep cycle. The problem is made worse by the need to urinate often. Individuals suffering kidney disease also find it hard to concentrate on tasks. They are gripped with constant dizziness decreasing mental sharpness and productivity.
Shortness of Breath
When the body cannot get rid of excess fluids, some of it collects in the lungs. Fluid accumulation in the lungs causes breathing difficulties. Not only this, increased blood toxicity reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. This serves as another reason for laboured breathing. If water collects around the lining of the heart, it causes sharp pain in the chest.
If you suffer any of the above mentioned symptoms you should seek immediate medical attention. Your nephrologist, after a thorough evaluation, will suggest the most appropriate long-term chronic kidney disease treatment.