Symptoms of Kidney Failure

Unlike any other disease or organ dysfunction, kidney ailments are mostly asymptomatic in the early period of onset, making the patients unaware of their condition. Be it acute injury to the kidney or hereditary multicystic disease of the kidney, there are a few warning signs that might tell you if you are suffering from a kidney disease or not. In patients with a progressive kidney disease, symptoms appended in the following sections may present either simultaneously or over time, indicating the onset and severity of the disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Failure

It’s very crucial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of kidney failure since it can assist you in getting the right treatment in time. And here are the several indicating signs and symptoms of kidney failure:

  • Changes in urination. Kidney excretes waste of the body through urine. Kidney pathologies can become evident with increased frequency to urinate either at night or even during the day, frothy urine or bubbles in urine, blood in urine or difficulty voiding.
  • Swelling. Failure to make urine causes retention of waste and fluid in the body, giving rise to swelling of limbs, feet or face.
  • Fatigue. Besides excretion, kidney also synthesizes and secretes a hormone called erythropoietin which further enhances the production of red blood cells to carry oxygen and meet the demand. In a diseased kidney, the production of EPO is decreased, causing tiredness and easy fatigue.
  • Skin rash/itch. Failing kidneys promotes waste retention along with fluids. This waste retention causes local irritation, rashes or itches.
  • Metallic taste in mouth. Ammonia containing waste accumulates in the body and gives rise to uremia. High serum levels may present as loss of appetite, bad breath and weight loss eventually.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Uremia also predisposes to continuous retching and nausea. You may feel like throwing up most of the time.
  • Shortness of breath. If you are finding it difficult to catch your breath, either the retained fluid is being accumulated in your lungs or the decreased red blood cells are not able to fulfill the oxygen demand of your body.
  • Feeling cold. Lower red blood cell count, also known as anemia, can sometimes make you feel cold regardless of the temperature of your surroundings.
  • Dizziness and trouble concentrating. Anemia usually produces generalized symptoms. When the brain’s oxygen demand is not met adequately, you may feel it hard to remember things or concentrate and feel drowsy mostly.

Important Note:

If you or people around you have one or more of the symptoms of kidney failure mentioned above, or you are concern about any problem in kidneys, go and see a doctor. Many of the symptoms above can also result from other health issues, so the only way to learn what cause your symptoms is to seek professional help.

What to Do If You Detect a Kidney Failure

Kidney diseases can grow silently till they are aggressive enough to cause symptoms. But if you are already aware of the symptoms of kidney failure described above and experiencing any troubling signs, you should consult a physician to help you identify the cause. It will help you and your physician if you keep a record of all your symptoms and bring them to your follow-up visits with your doctor. Early detection and adequate knowledge about the disease will delay the disease progression and decrease mortality.

Normally, if you go to see a doctor for kidney problem, your physician should send your blood tested for glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a urine sample for protein. GFR is principally done to ascertain the normal functioning of the kidney because it shows how much and how well the blood is filtered by the kidneys. The cut-off value for GFR is 60.

Urinary protein is not a normal phenomenon because the filtering sieves in the kidney are impermeable to proteins and only becomes permeable in an ongoing disease process. The presence of protein in the urine is called proteinuria.

How to Slow Down the Progression of a Kidney Failure

Unfortunately, the process of kidney failure once started cannot be brought back to absolutely normal, but it can be prevented from developing complications and deteriorating further. Few steps are supposed to be taken in conjunction with pharmaceutical support to taper the risk of developing fulminant renal/kidney failure.

1. Nutritional Interventions

Goalof your nutritional interventions is to reduce sodium intake and to compensate the protein loss, but do not overload it. Sodium intake (2300mg/day) will help with hypertension and protein (0.8 g/kg body weight/day) will buffer the effects of albuminuria and slow down the disease activity.

2. Lifestyle

Smoking can have a debilitating effect and may worsen the condition. Slow cessation should be done to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Physical activity should be encouraged and promoted to prevent other coexistent diseases and help improve overall health status.

3. Medical Management 

Medical Management


Control your blood pressure

High blood pressure is an aggravating factor as well as a complication associated with renal disease. The Joint National Committee (JNC 8) recommends a blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or under for renal patients, but may vary based on physician’s discretion. Constant monitoring, salt restrictions and moderate daily exercise are pivotal. You can also get benefits from a variety of hypertension pharmacological agents like angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). 

Reduce albuminuria

Controlled albuminuria antagonizes the effects of renal disease and this can be achieved by administering ACEI or ARBs. They decrease the capillary pressure in the glomerulus, thus decreasing protein leakage. A strict eye should be kept on potassium levelsas altered levels can have regretful events.

Blood glucose control


Complicated diabetes can cause damage to the microvessels, deteriorating the renal pathology. Strict glycemic control and HbA1c of less than 7% is ideal. A concomitant exam should be done for renal function as well.

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