As with any medical condition, early recognition and treatment is the key to managing kidney disease. There are many people who have chronic kidney disease and do not realize it for a long time, because the early warning signs can be very easy to dismiss, or they may have minimal symptoms. It can take years, even decades, for chronic kidney disease to turn into kidney failure, and the earlier that you recognize the signs of an inefficiently functioning kidney, the better your chances are for regaining your kidney health.
One of the most obvious signs of kidney damage is changes in your urination. The kidneys job is to produce urine, so when the kidneys are not working properly, the quality and quantity of the urine will probably change. You may not be able to go through the night without having to get up to urinate. On the other hand, you may notice that you urinate less frequently. The color of your urine may range from excessively pale, to dark, cloudy colored, possibly containing blood. Your urine may also be foamy or bubbly. You may notice that it is painful to urinate, or that you can never relieve the feeling that you have to urinate, even if nothing happens when you try.
Someone with improperly functioning kidneys may also feel fatigued. Healthy kidneys create something called erythropoietin, which signals your body to produce red blood cells. If your kidneys are not producing this hormone in sufficient quantities, you will have fewer red blood cells in your body carrying oxygen, making you anemic. This results in your muscles and brain becoming much more tired than usual.
Other symptoms of kidney-related anemia are feeling cold all of the time, even when the weather is warm. Also, if your brain is not getting enough oxygen from lack of red blood cells being produced, this can lead to memory problems, trouble with concentration and dizziness.
Improperly functioning kidneys can also make it seem hard to catch your breath. First, extra fluid that is not being filtered and excreted out is allowed to build up in the lungs. Secondly, the anemia, once again, can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.
Swelling is also possible and common in your legs, ankles, feet, hands, and face if you have kidney disease. Failing kidneys do not remove extra fluid from the body as they are supposed to, so this fluid is left to build up in the body.
With waste and fluids being allowed to pile up in the bloodstream, the toxins in your blood can cause severe itching. People with kidney disorders may have skin that breaks out into rash-like symptoms, or will have the feeling that no matter how much they scratch, their itching will not go away.
With so many toxins in the system, nausea and vomiting is not uncommon. This loss of appetite and nausea can lead to weight loss. This buildup of wastes in the system may cause food to taste differently, and you may notice a foul, metallic taste in your mouth. You may notice that you stop wanting to eat meat, because your body is not able to assimilate proteins correctly.
A lot of people with poorly functioning kidneys may have pain in their back or side that corresponds with the troubled kidney. Polycystic kidney disease, which is a genetic disorder that causes fluid-filled cysts on the kidneys, can cause excruciating pain.
If you have any of these mentioned symptoms, you will want to get checked out for a diagnosis right away. The sooner that you begin treating kidney disease, the more options that you have for regaining your kidney health. If you do not wish to take pharmaceutical medication, which has many side effects and can actually contribute to kidney damage, there are many natural therapies available. Combined with appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes, you can both reverse kidney damage and protect from further damage to your kidneys in the future.