10 Early warning signs your kidneys aren’t working as well as they should

10 Early warning signs your kidneys aren’t working as well as they should

As important as your kidneys are to your health (including your bone health), symptoms of their malfunction can be quite subtle. Early detection is crucial for preventing permanent kidney damage, so it’s vital to recognize the signs that something is not right with these detoxification organs.

In this article, you’ll learn about eight early warning signs that could mean your kidney function is not up to par, and what to do about it.

Dr. Maria Maawad, Specialist Nephrologist at Prime Hospital shares 10 possible signs you may have kidney disease. If you’re at risk for kidney disease due to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, a family history of kidney failure or if you’re older than age 60, it’s important to get tested annually for kidney disease. Be sure to mention any symptoms you’re experiencing to your healthcare practitioner.

Kidney Function Declines With Age

It’s especially important to pay attention to your kidneys as you get older because their function tends to decline in the later adult years. In fact, and especially as it relates to your bone health, kidney function becomes even more crucial as we advance in years because they are key players in the acid/alkaline balance in the body.

As Savers know, this balance is at the very heart of the Save Our Bones Program’s drug-free osteoporosis treatment. In addition to adjusting the PH, the kidneys also filter out bone-damaging toxins and “decide” which vitamins and minerals need to be excreted or put back into circulation.

As you can see, the kidneys are at the center of your bone health. So it’s vital to keep track of their function.

Are You Experiencing Any Of These Symptoms?

  1. You're more tired, have less energy or are having trouble concentrating. A severe decrease in kidney function can lead to a buildup of toxins and impurities in the blood. This can cause people to feel tired, weak and can make it hard to concentrate. Another complication of kidney disease is anemia, which can cause weakness and fatigue.
  2. You're having trouble sleeping. When the kidneys aren't filtering properly, toxins stay in the blood rather than leaving the body through the urine. This can make it difficult to sleep. There is also a link between obesity and chronic kidney disease.
  3. You have dry and itchy skin. Healthy kidneys do many important jobs. They remove wastes and extra fluid from your body, help make red blood cells, help keep bones strong and work to maintain the right amount of minerals in your blood. Dry and itchy skin can be a sign of the mineral and bone disease that often accompanies advanced kidney disease when the kidneys are no longer able to keep the right balance of minerals and nutrients in your blood.
  4. You feel the need to urinate more often. If you feel the need to urinate more often, especially at night, this can be a sign of kidney disease. When the kidneys filters are damaged, it can cause an increase in the urge to urinate. Sometimes this can also be a sign of a urinary infection or enlarged prostate in men.
  5. You see blood in your urine. Healthy kidneys typically keep the blood cells in the body when filtering wastes from the blood to create urine, but when the kidney's filters have been damaged, these blood cells can start to "leak" out into the urine. In addition to signaling kidney disease, blood in the urine can be indicative of tumors, kidney stones or an infection.
  6. Your urine is foamy. Excessive bubbles in the urine – especially those that require you to flush several times before they go away—indicate protein in the urine. This foam may look like the foam you see when scrambling eggs, as the common protein found in urine, albumin, is the same protein that is found in eggs.
  7. You're experiencing persistent puffiness around your eyes. Protein in the urine is an early sign that the kidneys’ filters have been damaged, allowing the protein to leak into the urine. This puffiness around your eyes can be due to the fact that your kidneys are leaking a large amount of protein in the urine, rather than keeping it in the body.
  8. Your ankles and feet are swollen. Decreased kidney function can lead to sodium retention, causing swelling in your feet and ankles. Swelling in the lower extremities can also be a sign of heart disease, liver disease and chronic leg vein problems.
  9. You have a poor appetite. This is a very general symptom, but a buildup of toxins resulting from reduced kidney function can be one of the causes.
  10. Your muscles are cramping. Electrolyte imbalances can result from impaired kidney function. For example, low calcium levels and poorly controlled phosphorus may contribute to muscle cramping.

What Causes Kidney Malfunction?

A major culprit of kidney problems is an acidic diet (consumed by the majority of the population), soft drinks, high salt intake, and low water consumption. In addition, there is a genetic disease, metabolic syndrome, smoking, drugs intake mainly the anti-inflammatory. Dr. Maria Maawad says: “Patients with chronic kidney disease may want to pay more attention to diet consumption of acid-rich foods to reduce progression to kidney failure…dialysis treatments…may be avoided by adopting a more healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.”

Why Wait Until Your Kidneys Are Diseased?

While the study was conducted on people with kidney disease, we could safely extrapolate the recommendations to those who want to avoid kidney disease and achieve optimal kidney function now, especially as we age.

In fact, additional research points to the actuality of physiological changes in the kidneys as we age. The research notes that a progressive reduction in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal blood flow (RBF) are observed in conjunction with aging. The reason for these phenomena is a decrease in the plasma flow in the glomerulus, a bundle of capillaries that partially form the renal corpuscle. Also, the aging kidneys experience other structural changes, such as a loss of renal mass, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli that constrict or dilate blood vessels.

Dr. Maria says: “…age-related changes in cardiovascular hemodynamics, such as reduced cardiac output and systemic hypertension, are likely to play a role in reducing renal perfusion and filtration. Finally, it is hypothesized that increases in cellular oxidative stress that accompany aging result in endothelial cell dysfunction and changes in vasoactive mediators resulting in increased atherosclerosis, hypertension and glomerulosclerosis.”

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