Symptoms of kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) often remains undetected over many years, because many people recognize no signs or manifest any obvious symptoms to suspect kidney trouble. It is for this reason that routine blood and urine tests are crucial; they can detect blood or protein in the urine and abnormal blood chemical levels that are early indicators of kidney disorder and failure. The following problems may be warning signs of kidney disease and should be taken seriously. The main symptoms of kidney disease include:
Secondary symptoms of kidney disease
The following symptoms may also indicate kidney disease:
CKD can lead to other health problems even before kidney failure occurs. Chronic kidney failure can affect almost all parts of the body. Besides irreversible damage to the kidneys (end-stage kidney disease), which requires either dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival, potential complications from CKD may include:
Main complications of kidney disease include:
Anemia - Anemia happens when the kidneys fail to produce enough erythropoietin, or EPO, a hormone that prompts the bone marrow to create red blood cells. Anemia can result in heart problems.
Bone problems - Healthy kidneys balance the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, keeping your bones strong. CKD can throw those minerals out of balance, resulting in bone problems.
Acidosis - The kidneys regulate the acid/base balance in the blood. Kidney problems can cause acidosis, making the blood too acidic. Acidosis can disrupt body functions.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) - The smallest losses of kidney function can double the risk of developing CVD. For example, a sudden rise in potassium levels, can impair the heart's ability to function and can be life-threatening. Kidney disease also puts one at increased risk of heart attack or stroke and can cause pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac-like membrane that envelops the heart (pericardium). In fact, people diagnosed with CKD are more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than from kidney failure.
Complications in children - Chronic kidney failure can impede normal growth in children. This occurs in part because failing kidneys have reduced production of erythropoietin, the hormone necessary to generate red blood cells and metabolize human growth hormone. The kidneys also regulate the interactions of calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for healthy bones. In chronic kidney failure, these interactions can become imbalanced, interfering with bone growth.
Complications during pregnancy - Chronic kidney failure has a number of potential complications for pregnant women. During pregnancy, the amount of fluid in the body greatly increases, making kidneys work especially hard. This can lead to worsening high blood pressure and an increase of waste products in the blood. These changes impact both mother and baby. Chronic high blood pressure deprives the baby of blood through the placenta, which can seriously impede growth. Waste products in the bloodstream can have an adverse effect on the baby as well. Pregnant women with chronic kidney failure are also at high risk for preeclampsia, a serious condition in late pregnancies. Preeclampsia causes a dangerous rise in blood pressure. If untreated, it may lead to hemorrhages in the brain, liver or kidneys, and can be fatal for both mother and baby.
When to seek help
Many kidney disease symptoms can indicate other illnesses. If one or more is present, the only way to get an accurate diagnosis is to see a doctor. Seek medical help if any of the signs and symptoms of chronic kidney failure manifest. Even if you have no risk factors for kidney failure, see a doctor immediately when urinating much more or much less than usual or if blood is present in the urine. Seek medical help when:
People diagnosed with any type of chronic medical condition that increases risk of chronic kidney failure should be monitored by their doctors with blood pressure, urine and blood tests during regularly scheduled office visits. Report a change in urination patterns or quantity, dark or cola-colored urine, unexplained weight loss, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, headaches, or a yellowish-brown cast to the skin.
Congenital kidney diseases may not be detected until later in life. Today, with the help of diagnostic imaging technology, doctors can find cysts in children and adolescents before symptoms appear. Continue reading here to learn more about how doctors test using blood test kidney disease.
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