Millions of Americans live with kidney problems without having the faintest idea about it. You may not feel any sign until your disease is advanced, and this is why kidney problems are often known as “silent killers.” It is important to catch the early signs of kidney disease to prevent permanent damage to your kidneys.
Your doctor may order a basic metabolic panel blood test as part of a routine physical exam. This test determines atypical levels creatinine or urea, one of the earliest signs of kidney disease. Other than the basic metabolic panel, there are four early warning signs of kidney problems.
Read on to learn more.
Warning Signs for Kidney Problems
1. Changes in Urination
Kidneys have millions of nephrons. These nephrons are the functional unit of the kidneys. Kidneys filter your blood’s fluid and waste and excrete it as urine. Therefore, any change in the functional unit of the kidney, i.e., nephron, can produce an unusual changurie in urination. These changes include:
- Frequent urination
- Foamy, cloudy, or discolored urine
- Decreased amount of urine production
- Waking up at night for urination
- Difficulty urinating
- Blood in urine
2. Swelling and Backache
If your kidney has a problem, it likely struggles to remove excessive fluid from the body. When the kidney cannot remove excess liquid, this fluid builds up in the body and causes swelling. This swelling can occur in your face, hands, legs, feet, and ankles. You may also have puffiness around your eyes. The fluid may also build up in your lungs, causing shortness of breath.
Early kidney disorders such as pyelonephritis or renal calculus can manifest themselves as pain in your back, side, or below your ribs.
3. Fatigue and Less Energy
Other than filtration, your kidneys are responsible for producing a hormone called erythropoietin. This hormone signals your body to make new oxygen-carrying red blood cells. When kidneys have any problems, they fail to make enough erythropoietin, which results in a shortage of red blood cells in the body. The decrease in red blood cells or anemia may cause tiredness, dizziness and memory concerns, decreased stamina, and overall muscle weakness. You may also have a hard time catching your breath.
The metabolic waste that builds up in your blood during kidney disease can also cause fatigue.
4. Trouble Sleeping and Loss of Appetite
Any problem with your kidneys impairs its function, i.e., filtration. When your kidneys aren’t filtering properly and removing toxins, they will stay in your body. Accumulation of toxins can make it difficult for you to rest. Obesity and sleep apnea are more common among those with chronic kidney disease.
Due to reduced kidney function, toxins like creatinine, acids, and urea can also accumulate in your body. These toxins suppress your appetite. In advanced kidney disease, you will experience a change in taste that is often described as a constant metallic taste in the mouth.
Kidney Problem Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
You can keep an eye on your kidneys health by including kidney function tests in your regular checkups. Noticing early warning signs and regular checkups can help detect kidney disease, including kidney stones, early on.
If you or your loved one has early warning signs of kidney problems or urinary disease, our board-certified urologist Dr. Avila has you covered. He can thoroughly assess your medical history, understand your symptoms, and make a diagnosis. He will guide you and devise a treatment plan for your urinary system problem in no time.