Kidney Disease Symptoms

Kidney disease is an inflammatory and often chronic condition that affects the kidneys. These two organs are often recognized by their well-known “bean” shape. If you’ve ever had good chili, you are probably familiar with what the kidneys look like, because kidney beans are often used. The kidneys reside on each side of the spine just about the middle of the back, below the rib cage.

The kidney on the right is just a little lower than the one on the left. They work with the bladder and three other co-horts, the urethra and the two ureters, to help remove waste products and toxins from the blood. When all is working synergistically, the body performs at its best.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease

The symptoms of kidney disease do not usually form until someone has advanced kidney disease. This is why it is important to keep on top of the health of your kidneys, because advanced kidney disease is much harder to treat than kidney disease in its earlier stages.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of kidney disease:

  • Protein in the urine
  • Abnormal blood function tests of the kidneys; this is actually one test that might detect kidney disease early. BUN tests and other tests detect how well the kidneys are functioning to some extent, and doctors often order these tests as part of an ordinary physical exam. This is why it is so important you take care of your health and visit your doctor for your routine wellness and health exams.
  • High blood pressure, which is also typically detected during a physical exam or other test. Just having high blood pressure can cause kidney disease, so if you have high blood pressure, and especially if you have a hard time controlling your high blood pressure, then you should have your doctor screen you for kidney disease, because high blood pressure may impact your kidney function.
  • Swelling or any type of “edema” which indicates fluid retention in the body. Usually, kidney disease is associated with swelling that occurs in the feet, lower legs, and sometimes it also occurs in the face and in the hands. This can result from many other things including from heart failure, but heart conditions and heart disease are also typical of kidney disease. Protein leaking from the kidneys is often a key culprit however, in edema, so be aware.
  • UTI or chronic urinary tract infections, which may suggest a kidney infection. Having a urinary tract infection, which may include burning on urination, may lead to a kidney infection, especially if left untreated. Some people treat their own urinary tract infection with cranberry juice, but this isn’t always the best idea, because sometimes self-treatment doesn’t fully treat the problem.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite – these are often symptoms of worsening kidney disease. If you have these symptoms you should seek the care of a health care provider as soon as possible. These symptoms may or may not be accompanied by other symptoms which may include fatigue and sleepiness.
  • Metallic taste in the mouth and twitching – these are also symptoms of worsening kidney disease, which also means you should seek the care of your health care provider. If you have these symptoms, or any of the symptoms above you may need dialysis, a common treatment for kidney disease.

Other Conditions That May Affect the Kidneys

There are many other conditions that can affect the kidneys and cause similar symptoms. These include the following:

  • Nephrotic syndrome – this is a disease of the kidney that involves a leak of protein or albumin into the urine and increased cholesterol in the blood. This can also lead to edema or the accumulation of fluid in the body.
  • Lupus nephritis – this is an inflammatory condition that affects the kidneys caused by a defect of the immune system, where the body’s immune system causes the immune system to attack a person’s own body. It is caused by SLE, or systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • PKD, or polycystic kidney disease – this is an inherited condition that causes many cysts to grow and fill the kidneys, which will cause them to grow beyond their normal size.
  • Pyelonephritis – This is simply an infection that grows within the ureters and in the kidney.
  • Rhabdomyolysis – which is a condition resulting from an injury to the kidney.