Every day our minds process tons of information, our bodies perform thousands of actions. Living in this busy world makes it very easy to miss some messages that your body sends you. And the consequences of not communicating and responding to these signals can be drastic.
In this article, we will discuss the symptoms and signs that the kidneys give to us when there is some sort of damage.
After all, kidneys are vital organs that are responsible for waste elimination. So, when kidney functions are not working properly, toxins will accumulate within the body.
Here is a list of ten signals, which indicate that your kidneys are not working properly:
1. Changes in urination
Your kidneys are responsible for producing urine and eliminating waste through it. Changes in the frequency, odor, color, and appearance of urine should not be ignored. Common types of changes include:
- Increased need to urinate, especially during the night. Anywhere between 4 to 10 times a day is considered to be normal.
- Seeing blood in urine. Healthy kidneys filter waste from the blood to produce urine, but if the filter is damaged the blood cells might start to “leek” out into the urine.
- Having foamy urine. Bubbles in the urine especially the ones that require you to flush several times until they go away indicate that unwanted protein is in the urine.
2. High blood pressure
Your kidneys and circulatory system depend on each other. The kidneys have small nephrons that filter waste and extra fluids from the blood. If the blood vessels get damaged, the nephrons that filter your blood don’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients. That’s why high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure.
Tip: Learn to manage your high blood pressure to avoid kidney failure. Add foods rich in folic acid as it is involved in the production of red blood cells and can help prevent anemia.
3. Puffy eyes
Puffiness around the eye area is an early sign that your kidney’s filter system is damaged. This can be explained by the fact that your kidneys are leaking a large amount of protein into the urine rather than keeping it and distributing it throughout the body.
Tip: If you’re sure that your body is receiving enough rest and protein, but you continue to notice puffiness around your eyes, make sure to schedule an appointment to see your doctor.
4. Having back pain
Kidney failure can result in back pain that is usually deep and located right below the rib cage. It can be felt in the front of the groin or hip area. Back and leg pain can be caused by kidney cysts, which are large fluid-filled sacs formed on the kidneys, and are the result of polycystic kidney disease.
Tip: Back pain caused by kidney failure is accompanied by vomiting, feeling sick, high body temperature and frequent urinating. If you keep experiencing back pain and pain relief pills are ineffective, make sure you see your doctor.
5. Swelling in ankles, feet, and hands
Kidneys that are failing to perform properly don’t remove any extra fluid from the body. This leads to sodium retention which causes swelling in your ankles, feet, and hands. Swelling of the lower parts of your body can also signal heart and liver disease or leg vein problems.
Warning: Sometimes taking medication, reducing salt and removing excess fluid in your body can stop swelling. If it doesn’t help, then you need a separate treatment.
6. Shortness of breath
The relation between kidney disease and experiencing shortness of breath, especially after little effort, is caused by two factors. First, extra fluid in the body moves into the lungs when kidneys are not functioning properly. Second, anemia deprives your body of oxygen and this results in shortness of breath.
Tip: If you notice that you are constantly out of breath after putting forth very little effort, you should contact your doctor immediately.
7. Experiencing bad breath and metallic taste
Experiencing changes in taste of food and metallic taste in your mouth occur when waste builds up in the blood. Having bad breath is another sign of having too many toxins and contamination in the bloodstream.
Warning: There are various reasons why food can have a metallic taste (from allergies to poor oral health). Normally, the metallic taste in your mouth should go away if the assumed cause has been treated. If the taste continues to appear, you should contact your doctor.
8. Having dry and itchy skin
Kidneys also have a role in maintaining the proper amount of minerals in your body. Itchy and dry skin signal the failure of kidneys to maintain the right balance of minerals and nutrients which can result in bone and kidney disease.
Tip: If you have dry and itchy skin, try to stay more hydrated. Remember, before taking any medication for itching consult your doctor. Certain medications have ingredients that potentially could damage your kidney function even more.
9. Headaches, fatigue and general weakness
Kidneys have a role in converting vitamin D in our bodies to maintain strong bones and to produce a hormone called Erythropoietin (EPO), which plays an important role in the production of red blood cells. When kidneys don’t function properly, they produce less EPO, which leads to a decline of red blood cells. This results in rapid fatigue of your muscles and brain.
Tip: If you’re getting enough rest and sleep, but continue experiencing feelings of tiredness, low energy levels and general weakness, you should visit your doctor without delay.
10. Trouble sleeping
When your kidneys are not functioning properly, it means that toxins cannot exit the body through urine and remain in the blood. Increased level of toxins make it hard to fall asleep.
Warning: People with chronic kidney disease more commonly suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes one or more pauses in the breath when you sleep. These pauses can last from a couple of seconds to a minute. After each pause, normal breathing returns with a loud snort. Continuous heavy snoring signals that it is time to see a doctor.