10 Signs That There Might Be Something Wrong With Your Kidneys

Every day our brain processes tons of information while our body performs thousands of actions. Because of the frantic rhythm of our life it’s very easy not to notice the signals our organs send us when they need help. And we all know that ignoring health problems can have severe consequences.

LifeSoEasy compiled a list of signs that can show us that our kidneys might not be working well.

1. Sleeping problems

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If our kidneys don’t function properly, toxins don’t leave the body through urine and stay in the blood. High level of toxins in our body causes insomnia. Therefore, if you don’t sleep well, there is a chance that you might be having problems with your kidneys.

Be careful: People with chronic kidney diseases are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. It’s a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops for more than 10 seconds. After every pause normal breathing comes back with a loud snort. Continuous heavy snoring is a sign that you need to go to a doctor.

2. Headaches, fatigue and general weakness

Healthy and well-functioning kidneys produce vitamin D that strengthens our bones and the hormone erythropoietin that places an important role in the formation of red blood cells. If there’s a problem with our kidneys, however, they start producing less erythropoietin. Low level of red blood cells, whose main function is carrying oxygen through the blood, leads to muscle and brain fatigue.

Be careful: People with kidney problems tend to have anaemia, which is a condition when our cells don’t get enough oxygen to function properly. This may happen when kidney function is reduced by 20-50%. If you rest enough and sleep well but still feel weak and tired, you should immediately consult a doctor.

3. Dry and itchy skin

Healthy kidneys remove harmful substances and excess water out of our blood, help to produce red blood cells and maintain the necessary amount of minerals in the body. Itchy and dry skin are signs that our kidneys can’t maintain the right balance of minerals and nutrients, which might lead to diseases of the bones and kidneys.

Be careful: If your skin is dry and itchy, try using moisturizers and always remember to consult your doctor before taking any medicine against itchiness, since some drugs contain ingredients that may cause even bigger problems with the kidneys.

4. Bad breath and metallic taste

When bad substances accumulate in the body, the taste of food changes and you start having metallic taste in your mouth. Another sign of a high concentration of toxins in the blood is bad breath. There’s also a chance of losing appetite and unhealthy weight loss as a result.

Be careful: There are various reasons why food may have a metallic taste (from allergies to poor oral health) and it should usually disappear after these factors are eliminated. If the taste remains, you should visit a doctor.

5. Breathing problems

There are two factors that explain the connection between kidney problems and breathlessness, especially after little physical activity. First, the excess fluid in your body might get into your lungs when the kidneys don’t function well. Secondly, anaemia deprives the body of oxygen leading to dyspnea, i.e. shortness of breath.

Be careful: The causes of shortness of breath are numerous: from kidney failure to asthma, lung cancer or heart disease. If you notice that you tend to have shortness of breath even after relatively easy physical activities, you should immediately consult a doctor.

6. Swollen ankles and hands

Kidneys that don’t function properly, don’t remove excess fluid from the body which leads to sodium retention thus causing swelling of the ankles, arms and legs. The lower limbs swelling can also indicate problems with the heart, liver or veins.

Be careful: Taking the necessary medication, lowering salt consumption and removing excess fluid from the body may stop the swelling. If this doesn’t help, you should pay a visit to a doctor.

7. Back pain

Kidney problems may lead to back pain which is felt right below the rib cage, or even in the front of your loin and hips area. This may be caused by kidney cysts – large sacs filled with fluid.

Advice: Back pain caused by kidney failure is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever and frequent urination. Back pain, which has nothing to do with kidneys, has different signs: it’s localized and occurs without a body temperature rise. If medication doesn’t work, consult a doctor.

8. Puffy eyes

An early sign of kidney disfunction is protein in the urine which may cause puffiness around the eyes. The kidneys let a big amount of protein into the urine (while they are supposed to keep it and distribute throughout the body) and that’s why the eyes swell.

Advice: If you sleep well and get enough protein from your food but the swelling remains, don’t forget to visit a doctor.

9. High blood pressure

The circulatory system and kidneys depend on each other. The latter have nephrons that filter harmful substances and remove excess fluid from the blood. On the other hand, if the blood vessels are damaged, the nephrons don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients. This is why high blood pressure is the second main cause of renal failure.

Advice: It’s very important to control your blood pressure to avoid kidney failure. Try to add foods that contain folic acid to your diet since it takes part in red blood cells production and will help to prevent anaemia.

10. Urine color change

Our kidneys are responsible for producing urine and removing harmful substances from the body. Therefore, changes in the frequency of urination, smell, color and appearance of urine shouldn’t be ignored. Some of these changes include:

– Frequent urination, especially at night. The norm is 4-10 times a day.

– Blood in the urine. Healthy kidneys filter out blood waste to produce urine, but if the filters don’t work well, blood cells can enter it.

– Foamy urine. It’s a sign that there’s too much protein in it.

Have you ever had kidney problems? Have you noticed any of the above signs? Tell us about your experience.

Featured image: MedNews