The kidneys are one of the most important organs in the body – they are responsible for filtering toxins from the bloodstream and eliminating them through urination to keep disease-causing agents and other unwanted substances out of the body. Kidney disease, therefore, is a very serious matter. The problem is that the early signs can often be ignored or dismissed and people are not aware of them until the disease is well-advanced. Below are some of these early symptoms to be aware of.
Changes in Urinary Function
One of the earliest symptoms of kidney disease is a change in the urinary function. This can include how often you urinate or how much and can also result in the feeling the urge to urinate but being unable to do so. Also, your urine can appear darker than normal, even if you are drinking adequately.
Difficult or Painful Urination
If it seems like it is more difficult for you to urinate or if you feel pain or pressure while urinating, this can also be a sign of kidney trouble. It can also be a symptom of a urinary tract infection, which can spread to the kidneys as it advances and cause serious health problems.
Again, blood in the urine can be a sign of a urinary tract infection, but it can also signal the onset of kidney disease. Either way, if you see traces of blood in the urine, this symptom should definitely give you cause of concern.
Swelling/Water Weight Gain
If you notice that you have put on weight suddenly and have swelling or puffiness in your hands, feet or face, this might be due to kidney problems, too. Kidneys are responsible for removing excess weight from the body and when they fail to do this, swelling and water weight gain can occur.
Weakness and Fatigue
The kidneys, in addition to their other functions, also help in the manufacture of red blood cells with a compound called erythropoietin. As kidney disease progresses, the kidneys are able to make less of this, with the result of a lower red blood cell count and eventual anemia.
Dizziness/Lack of Concentration
The anemia secondary to kidney disease can result in less oxygen to the brain. This, in turn, can cause a problem with mental functions like the ability to concentrate and can also result in dizziness.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, and especially if you have a personal or family history of kidney disease, make an appointment with your medical practitioner right away to discuss your concerns and see if there is a need to run tests to discover the underlying problem. Early detection and treatment can make a big difference and possibly even save your life!
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