Kidneys are essential in the general performance of the body. They play vital roles in making hormones, balancing electrolytes, removing waste, and recycling almost 200 quarts of fluid nonstop. Thus, any kidney conditions, specifically chronic kidney disease (CKD), can take a toll on your health.
Like any other body organs, kidneys send you alarming signs to inform you that there is a problem. Some of us may ignore the warnings and dismiss them as nothing too serious until it’s too late.
To help you make an informed decision, below are ten signs that your kidneys are gradually failing.
1. Lack of Sleep
If you are experiencing sleepless nights, it could be a sign that your kidneys are not working correctly. As a result, toxins cannot exit the body through urine as they remain in the blood. When your body has high levels of toxins, they make it hard for you to fall asleep. Less sleep can translate to the decline of your kidneys.
Chronic kidney disease patients suffer from sleep apnea, causing a person to have breathing pauses when sleeping. The breaks range from a couple of seconds to a minute. After which, regular breathing returns, accompanied by a loud snort. Thus, if you experience recurring heavy snoring signals, it could be time to visit a doctor.
2. Swollen Ankles, Feet, Hands, and Face
Failing kidneys don’t eliminate any excess fluid from the body leading to puffiness. Hence, sodium builds up, causing swelling of the ankles, hands, feet, and face. Also, it could be an indicator of a leg vein problem or heart and liver disease.
To get rid of the excess fluids, you can take medication or reduce salt intake. If all fails, consider a different treatment method.
3. Itchy and Dry Skin
Itchiness of the skin can be due to kidney disorders when they can’t flush out toxins such as urea. When the toxins build up in your blood, they cause you to have a rash or itch all over.
It’s also a sign that your kidneys have lost their ability to balance nutrients and minerals. Eventually, you could develop mineral and bone disease, leading to dry and itchy skin.
Notably, to restore your skin to its usual self, stay hydrated. Also, it would be wise if you consult a doctor before taking any medication. Thus, they can prescribe the right medication that won’t further damage your kidneys.
4. Shortness of Breath
Kidney diseases prevent the production of erythropoietin hormone by your organs. The hormone is responsible for signaling the body to make red blood cells.
If that does not happen, the body is prone to be anemic and hence the shortness of breath. Moreover, the buildup of fluids causes pain and pressure in the chest. Thus, making it hard for you to catch your breath.
In the event where you experience shortness of breath after minimal effort, contact your doctor.
5. Fatigue, Headache, and General Weakness
Deteriorating kidneys don’t convert vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and Erythropoietin hormone production. With the lack of the hormone, the production of red blood cells gets limited. Less red blood cells lead to less oxygen leading to fatigue, headaches, and general body weakness. The condition is anemia, which is treatable.
6. Stinky Breath and Metallic Taste
It’s not the normal foul breath, such as when you forget to brush your teeth. Instead, your breath produces an ammonia-like smell. The bad breath acts as an indicator of the presence of uremia waste in your blood.
All of which occurs when your kidneys can’t filter out waste. Additionally, the toxins can cause food to have a metallic taste. Also, the toxins make you dislike protein-containing foods such as meat.
7. Changes in Your Pee
Kidneys control the production of urine and the elimination of waste through the urine. Any changes in your urine frequency, color, odor, and appearance shows that something is not right with your kidneys.
The changes include frequent urination, especially during the night. Also, blood in urine results from leaked blood cells when the kidneys fail to filter waste. Kidney stones, an infection, or tumors can cause blood in your urine too.
Additionally, you produce foamy urine when there is unwanted albumin protein in the urine. Other changes you may experience include feeling pressure or having difficulty when urinating. It would help if you did not ignore the above changes. Seek medical attention immediately.
8. Puffy Eyes
Puffy eyes indicate that your kidneys are leaking a significant amount of protein into the urine. Typically, the kidneys are to keep the proteins and distribute them all over the body. Visit a doctor if you keep having puffy eyes despite eating the right amount of protein and getting enough rest.
9. High Blood Pressure
There are two instances where the kidneys could be causing high blood pressure or high blood pressure is causing your kidney conditions. Firstly, kidney failure causes a reduction in the hormone that aids in controlling blood pressure.
Hence, increased blood pressure could be that your kidneys are weakening. Secondly, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
10. Muscle Cramps
Muscle pains can be attributed to an imbalance of minerals in your blood when the kidneys are failing. Electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, and sodium are a necessity in muscle function. So, high levels contribute to muscle aches and heart palpitations. Also, it can lead to life-threatening conditions.
It’s essential to note that these symptoms could be due to other health problems. But the only way for you to find out is by visiting a doctor. In most cases, the symptoms appear when CKD is in its adverse stage, making it a silent killer.
So, it would be best if you regularly visit your doctor for regular blood work and urine tests. If you have a case of diabetes, heart disease, or your family has a kidney disease history, double up those visits. When detected early, any kidney conditions are curable.