What Are the Signs of Kidney Disease? 7 Possible Indicators, According to Doctors

What Are the Signs of Kidney Disease? 7 Possible Indicators, According to Doctors

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Even though you might not know that your kidneys aren’t working properly Doctors point out a variety of signs that may be present at the beginning and later phases of the kidney condition.


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The majority of people suffering from the renal disease do not realize they suffer from it according to National Kidney Foundation (NKF). It’s an alarming statistic however, it’s one that’s worth repeating.


“Most people with kidney disease don’t show symptoms until the very late stages,” David Goldfarb, MD, director of the clinic of nephrology at NYU Langone Health in New York City informs the Health. It’s vital for people who have the risk factors for kidney disease, for example being older than 60 years old or with chronic medical conditions, like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure or an autoimmune condition such as lupus to be regularly checked for kidney diseases according to him.


However, there are some subtle signs that may be present at the beginning and late phases, Staci Leisman, MD An expert in kidneys located in the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Mount Sinai Hospital tells Health. Here are some symptoms to be aware of, in different levels of renal disease.


What are the first signs that kidney problems are developing?

Kidney stones disease and symptoms infographic

These signs can appear in the beginning levels of the kidney condition before any damage has occurred to your kidneys, according to the doctor. Leisman. (They may also appear in later stages as well.)

If you are noticing any of these symptoms, consult your physician as soon as possible in order to determine if you have kidney disease.


Peeing at night

During the day, extra fluid in your body can build in your ankles and calves due to sitting and standing all day long, according to Dr. Leisman. However, when you sleep at night, the extra fluid is pumped straight up your kidneys. In the event that your kidneys suffer damage, they won’t be able to filter the fluid, either. This could result in more frequent bathroom visits at night as per the doctor Dr. Leisman. If you’re finding yourself having to go to the bathroom more than during the night, it’s the time to make an appointment with your doctor.



When your kidneys have been damaged, they’re unable to eliminate salt, which could cause edema or swelling of your feet, ankles, and legs. Robert Greenwell, MD, the chief of nephrology for Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore informs health. You might also notice eye puffiness, especially in the mornings that don’t get better when you take care of your eyes as normal (think applying cold tea bags or washcloths). “Your kidneys are leaking protein into your urine, which means less goes into your blood,” the doctor Dr. Greenwell. “The lack of protein can cause blood vessels to swell, which is often most noticeable around your eyes.”



One of the early indications of kidney disease could be anemia, according to the doctor. Leisman. Kidneys that are healthy produce the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) which sends signals to the bone marrow of your body to create larger red blood cells. However, if your kidneys aren’t functioning in the way they should, they’ll not produce enough EPO as explained by the doctor. Leisman. This means that you’ll produce fewer Red blood cells. “We often see this in the middle stages of kidney disease,” Dr. Leisman notes. If you are experiencing symptoms of anemia, such as confusion, dizziness or concentration, pale skin, and chest discomfort, consult your physician. They may run an examination of your blood to determine the level of hemoglobin that makes up those red blood cells. Treatment usually consists of iron supplements, or in extreme cases red blood cell transplantation.


If you’re diagnosed with anemia and are diagnosed with anemia, the doctor Dr. Leisman says it’s a recommended idea to have your doctor conduct tests to determine the function of your kidneys like your glomerular filter rate (GFR). It’s a blood test to assess the effectiveness of your kidneys’ filtering blood. A GFR of 60 is considered to be normal, when it is less than this, it is a sign of kidney disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). “We usually begin seeing anemia when a patient’s GFR is in the 30s,” says Dr. Leisman. There is also fatigue and difficulty concentrating in the final stages of kidney disease because the rapid decline in kidney function can lead to the accumulation of toxins within the blood.


Urine that is foamy or bloody

If you are able to see blood, that means that red blood cells are present in your urine. Although this can be the result of a UTI (or kidney stones), it may also be an indication of kidney disease. “When your kidneys are healthy, their filters actually prevent blood from entering your urine,” says the doctor. Greenwell. When they’re damaged, they allow tiny quantities of blood to flow into. In some cases, you might detect blood (it usually appears either red or similar to tea or cola, according to Greenwell, Dr. Greenwell). However, sometimes, the blood is small, which means it’s only identified by a routine urine test, where your doctor examines samples of your urine under a microscope.


If your urine is white foam, this typically is a sign of the presence of albumin, an amino acid that is typically present in tiny amounts in your urine claims Dr. Leisman. (It’s exactly the same type of protein found in eggs, and that’s why your urine is likely to have the same egg-white, foamy consistency.) “When your kidneys become damaged, one of the first things they have trouble filtering out is protein,” Dr. Leisman explains.


5 Stages of Kidney Disease: What Nephrologists Want You to Know


What are the signs later in kidney failure?

The signs typically show up at the time of stages 4 or 5 of the disease. They suggest the kidneys have become damaged to the point that they are incapable of filtering out the majority of toxins, causing them to accumulate inside your bloodstream. At that point in time, the treatment generally requires dialysis or a kidney transplant, according to the doctor Dr. Greenwell.


Dry, itchy skin

The kidneys aid in maintaining your bones healthy and maintain the proper level that minerals are present in the blood. In the final stages of kidney illness, kidneys could be so damaged that they’re unable to perform according to Dr. Goldfarb. This means that your skin could be rough and scaly, and appear to have a fish-like scale. You might notice that it is tight and is prone to cracks, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). As kidney function gets worse the kidneys cease to be able to remove waste, including excessive levels of phosphorus mineral according to that the NIDDK. The phosphorus can accumulate in the skin, causing irritation that ranges from mild irritation to the desire to scratch away your skin. It is possible that you scratch your skin so vigorously that you end up with bleeding, raw, and sores.


As time passes, the accumulation of toxins within the body can result in your skin changing to a dark gray or yellowish color According to the AAD. The skin’s appearance may change, darken, become thicker, and may develop bumps that look like pimples, or whiteheads. They can also develop deep lines. It is possible to notice the appearance of itchy, small oval bumps that can connect to form rough patches of raised skin.


Signs of advanced kidney disease may also be visible on your fingernails and toenails too, according to AAD. The sign that you are suffering from kidney disease is the half-and-half nail, in which you’ll see white on the upper portion of your nails, as well as normal colors on the lower part.


Appetite loss

If you have kidney problems the body is filled with toxins. your body and this could affect your appetite, says Dr. Goldfarb. Around one-third of people suffering from end-stage kidney disease also experience an unpleasant metallic taste in their mouths. This is likely to be due to the accumulation of waste products within your body, such as urine, according to Dr. Leisman. This can affect the taste buds. It may also cause vomiting and nausea.


Muscle cramps

If you suffer from severe kidney diseases, it is more susceptible to electrolyte imbalances, which could cause cramping, and an itch in your legs and arms according to the doctor Dr. Greenwell. About 25% of patients who undergo dialysis to treat kidney disease at the end of their life also suffer from restless legs syndrome. This is a condition in which you feel an overwhelming desire to move your legs when you’re lying down. This is one of the reasons the majority of people who are on dialysis say they are having trouble sleeping.

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