The kidney is the most important organ of the body, located just below the rib cage on either side of the Spinal Card.
Functions of Kidney
There is the main filter of the body in the kidneys. It helps the body to eliminate waste and toxins from the body. They also regulate blood pressure, creates red blood cell, and assisting keeping your bone strong and healthy. Kidney’s problems can be very harmful and even fatal.
The kidney is the main filtering organ of the body. It filters toxins and wastes from the blood while passing through the kidney. And get rid of the collected toxins and wastes in the form of urine. When the kidney is unable to filter these wastes products and toxins from the blood it may cause kidney failure. Kidney failure leads to the accumulation of wastes and toxin in the body, it becomes life-threatening when unconsidered for a long time.
More than 26 million American adults are living with kidney disease. Over 90% of them are unaware of the signs and symptoms. It is very crucial to identify and catch any signs and symptoms of kidney disease before it is too late.
Symptoms of Kidney Failure
In today, post we will talk about signs that will tell you that your kidneys are in trouble.
High Blood Pressure
According to the research statistics, high blood pressure is the most common reason for kidney failure. Kidney and blood vessels are very closely connected. Kidneys use a lot of blood vessels to filter up toxins they are closely connected to your circulatory system and linked to your blood pressure.
High blood pressure has a very negative effect on kidneys, it damages the blood vessels in the kidneys which affects their ability to work properly. Your blood vessels get scrod and week when they stretched to allow easy blood flow. This scoring happening in the blood vessels through the body, including those in the kidneys.
Once the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they stop removing waste and extra fluid from your body leading to toxin build-up. This can cause kidney failure.
The urge for frequent urination, especially at night, is due to three main reasons the UTI-Urinary Track Infection, an enlarged prostate in men, and damaged kidney filters.
If you have no urinary tract infection and enlarged prostate issue and still your trips to the bathroom for urination are more than 10 times in a day then it might be due to kidney problems.
Another major symptom of kidney trouble is consistent pain in your lower back typically on the sides. This means that your kidneys are hurting. The pain can be usually deep and located right below the rib cage. It can be felt in the hip areas as well. Sometimes the pain can be extended to your legs.
Generally, such type of pain can indicate kidney problems like urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and injuries. Keeping in min back pain caused due to kidney problems is a company by sick feeling, vomiting, high body temperature, and frequent urination.
Don’t confuse with normal back pain that has no correlation with kidneys. It is more localized and happens suddenly without any fever. If you keep experiencing back pain and pain relief pills are ineffective the make sure to see your doctor.
Swollen Ankles and Feet
The basic function of your kidney is to balance sodium and potassium levels in your body. If your kidneys have trouble functioning, it can cause your body to retain extra sodium and fluid which in general should be passed out to the urinary tract.
This fluid mostly accumulates in your legs and hands due to poor blood circulation leading to swollen feet and ankles.
Shortness of Breath
It might come as a surprise, but there is a relation between kidney disease and shortness of breath. This is mainly due to two factors.
First, the extra fluid in your body moves to the lungs when your kidneys are not functioning properly.
Second is anemia that deprived your body of oxygen result in shortness of breath.
Remember, there are various reasons for shortness of breath other than kidney failure that can be due to asthma, lung cancer, or heart failure.
If you are constantly out of breath after putting little effort you should contact your doctor immediately.
Difficulty Thinking Clearly and Concentrating
Kidney problems can cause you mentally fuzzy and unable to think clearly. According to research decreased kidneys functioning is associated with decreased cognitive functions in areas such as global cognitive ability, abstract reasoning, and verbal memory.
Kidney failure can also cause the toxin to enter your brains this can cause Delirium, a state of mind that can be marked by major confusion, it can also make it very difficult to concentrate.
Dry and itchy Skin
Dry and itchy skin that you might be experiencing can be more than an unpleasant reaction to the weather. If you have kidneys issue excessive urea in the blood can cause serious itching. As your kidney health worsen you will be more likely to suffer from itchy skin.
Research indicates that 40% of people with life-threatening kidney disease developed Uremic Pruritus or chronic itching.
Your kidneys worked to maintain the right amount of minerals in your body and when are no longer to keep the right balance minerals and nutrients lead to dry and itchy skin.
Feeling Fatigue and Dizzy
Fatigue and dizziness are common signs and symptoms of kidney problems. If you are suffering from kidney problems you might have a condition called anemia, it is the common side effect of this disease and a sign of kidney issue.
Your kidney normally produces a hormone EPO-Erythropoietin that alerts your bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.
If you are anemic you have a decreased supply of red blood cells your body will contain less oxygen leading to fatigue.
Dizziness is also a common symptom of anemia. You will experience difficulty in focusing and standing up. These are also signs that your body is not creating enough red blood cells that could be related to your kidneys not functioning properly. Other symptoms of anemia include pale skin, leg cramps, and rapid heartbeat.
A comprehensive diagnosis of this condition can lead to the discovery of any kidneys related issue that you have.
Feeling Cold in Warm Conditions
You might relate to feeling cold, having a fever, but there could be underline kidney problems. Improper, kidney function can lead to the accumulation of Uremic wastes.
This can cause a decrease in your core body temperature or hypothermia. You have difficulty in tolerating cold that can make you feel cold in warm conditions.
As we mentioned earlier anemia that often flags with kidney disease that also comes with the feeling of coldness particularly in extremities.
Blood in Urine
One of the many functions of the kidney is to stop your blood cells from flowing out while filtering waste from your blood.
When your kidneys are damaged these blood cells are leak out in your urine this can lead to Hematuria. The presence of urine in your blood can make your urine red or brown.
If you notice blood in your urine get to a doctor even if you are not experiencing pain. Blood in the urine is not always a sign of major kidney issues.
There are also more benign causes of Hematuria including extreme exercise.
Metallic Taste in your mouth and Bad Breath
Improperly functioning kidneys can cause a buildup of wastes also called uremia. This can lead to stopping eating food that you used to love.
As you begin to feel a metallic taste in your mouth. May also stop enjoying eating meat, the items on your menu are looking scares you begin to lose weight.
When your kidneys are not on the top of filtering duties toxins and waste products can build up in your body and often show up in unexpected places in your body.
Your mouth is one such example bad breath is warning sign of that.
Causes of Kidney Failure
Several factors contribute to kidney failure. Kidney failure is not a sudden occurring condition, it occurs over time. Kidney failure is the end stage of renal disease that is it is called the End Stage of Renal Disorder abbreviated as ESRD. Some of them are discussed here in this post.
Blockage of blood Supply to Kidney
This is the main cause of kidney failure. During this condition, the supply of blood to the kidney is affected. The factors that affect the supply of blood to the kidney include heart and liver problems, severe injury, an allergic reaction, and certain medication.
A kidney stone is another cause of kidney failure. Kidney stone causes injuries in the kidney and affect the filtering function of the kidney. Due to which a decline in kidney performance occurred. When the issue of kidney stones is not addressed on time it may cause kidney failure.
Blockage of Urine
When the body is unable to get rid of urine properly. It increases the level of toxins, creatinine, urea, and waste products in the blood. It puts a further burden on the kidneys that cause kidney failure.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the steady cause of kidney failure. There is a populated network of blood vessels in the nephrons of the kidney. A lot of blood passes through these blood vessels during filtration. High blood pressure for a long time damages these blood vessels which causes kidney failure with passages of time.
High Blood Sugar
Just like high blood pressure, high blood sugar also damages the small arteries present in the kidney. Then the kidney with damaged blood vessels cannot perform their functions properly. That is why there is a high risk of kidney failure in diabetic patients. The high blood sugar did not down the kidney sudden, but gradually in the span of 5 to 6 years the fails to perform its functions.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
The excessive drinking of alcohol causes kidney failure. Drinking alcohol affects the electrolyte level in the body that put the kidney in trouble. Alcohol also dehydrates the body which is another alarming factor for the kidney. That is why acute kidney failure is noted in the regular drinkers.
Certain medicines like antibiotics, pain killers, aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and laxatives may cause kidney failure. Other illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin also affect the function of kidneys.
Types of Kidney Failure
There are two main types of kidney failures.
Acute Kidney Failure
Acute kidney failure is a temporary kidney failure that can be treated if diagnosed and treated earlier. Acute kidney failure occurs due to external injury, low or high blood pressure, or kidney stones.
Chronic Kidney Failure
Chronic kidney failure is the permanent failure of the kidney. In most cases the acute kidney failure, when untreated, converts into chronic kidney failure after 3 to 6 months. Such kidney failure is not treatable.
Stages of Kidney Failure
As all, we know that kidney failure is not a sudden process, but it occurs gradually in stages. It starts from a mild defect in the kidney at stage one and ends with kidney failure at stage five. Each stage is differentiated from the other based on kidney function. As the function of kidney decline, the patient moves from one stage to another. To measure the kidney function there is a universal unit called Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). There is an equation that calculates Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), which takes the values of age, weight, creatinine value, blood urea, and serum albumin as input and give Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) as output. Then based on GFR value, the Chronic Kidney Disease is divided into the given five stages.
- Stage1: at stage 1 the kidneys are normal and perform its function well. The GFR value at this stage must be greater than 90 mL/min.
- Stage 2: at stage 2 a slight decline occurs in kidney functions. The GFR value in this stage occurs in the range of 60-89 mL/min.
- Stage 3: this is the moderate stage of kidney disease, at this stage the GFR values fall to 30-59 mL/min.
- Stage 4: this stage is considered severe, where GFR value is 15-29 mL/min.
- Stage 5: this is the end stage of kidney disease. At this stage the kidneys are completely down with GFR value less than 15 mL/min.
Diagnosis of Kidney Failure
When you feel any symptom of kidney failure. Then see to your doctor, he will advise you on the following investigation to diagnose the root cause of the problem.
Urine Out Put Measurement
The very first thing the doctor will do is to measure the urine out for 24 hours. The urine output for a normal person in 24 hours is from 800 to 2000 milliliters per day. If the doctor notices any decrease in a volume he will ask for further investigation. This will be the early indicator of kidney failure.
To further investigate the cause of kidney dis-function the doctor will send the urine of the patient for further analysis. To check kidney infection the urine will be analyzed for red blood cells, white blood cells, and pus cells. If the doctor is still not sure he may request for urine culture.
Apart from this urine can be analyzed for protein and albumin. Checking all these things can speak about kidney health.
Blood Test for Kidney Infection
Certain blood tests can also help to predict kidney failure. The blood tests for checking creatinine and urea level in the blood can show you the performance of your kidney.
In order to find the actual cause of kidney failure, the doctor will advise you the renal ultrasound. Renal ultrasound checks the size, shape, and position of the kidneys. It also tells about the health of ureter and bladder.
It is the final stage of diagnosing kidney failure cause. A kidney biopsy is also called a renal biopsy. In a renal biopsy, a sample of kidney tissues is tested to find the kidney failure cause.
Treatment of Kidney Failure
Kidney failure has no treatment except dialysis and kidney transplant. But we know that kidney failure didn’t occur overnight, it gradually becomes severe. So, in the early stage of kidney diseases, can be treated by treating the underlying cause with medication. The following are the possible three treatment plans for kidney failure.
Medication for kidney Failure
As there are certain health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, anemia, and a high cholesterol level that affects kidney health. By addressing these underlying causes, we can improve kidney health in the early stage of kidney failure. That is why certain medicines of hypertension, diabetes, anti-inflammatory, and medicines for lowering cholesterol level.
When kidneys fail to filter toxins and wastes from the blood, then the doctor advises dialysis. Dialysis is an artificial method of filtering toxins and wastes from the blood. For this, a special filtering machine called a dialysis machine that works just like a kidney. Then the question is how the dialysis machine works? The dialysis machine has two tubes, the blood from the body enters the dialysis machine through one tube and circulates through the dialysis machine which absorbs wastes and extra fluids from the blood. The purified blood enters the body via the second tube. The doctor mostly advises dialysis once per week in the last stages of kidney failure.
A kidney transplant is the final surgical solution for kidney failure. In which the unhealthy kidney is replaced by a healthy kidney through a surgical procedure called kidney transplant. After a successful kidney transplant the patient didn’t need dialysis further.