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25 Hidden Signs You Have Kidney Problems

Cancer is considered the plague of modern times, but most people don’t know that kidney issues kill more people than breast and prostate cancer together.

The National Institute of Health confirms that there are over 660,000 Americans diagnosed with kidney failure. Diabetes and high blood pressure are leading causes of kidney failure.

In this article, we provide more information on kidneys, their function and 25 common signs of kidney issues. You will also get an advice on how to optimize the function of your kidneys.

The role of kidneys

These bean-shaped organs are located below the ribs and take part in numerous body functions. Healthy kidneys filter half a cup of blood every minute while removing waste. Urine flows to the ureters, and stays there until passed.

Here are some other vital functions:

  • Produce red blood cells
  • Strengthen bones
  • Release pressure-regulating hormones
  • Balance electrolytes
  • Prevent fluid and waste buildups

Main function

Did you pay attention to your science classes? If yes, you probably know everything about kidneys, including the function of nephrons.

If no, here’s a brief info. Nephrons are filtering units in your kidneys. A million nephrons do their job every second, and each nephron is composed of glomerulus and tubule (filtering components).

Nephrons take part in a twofold process:

1. The glomerulus filters blood

2. The tubule carries elements to blood and removes water

The kidneys are part of your urinary tract, working in a synergy with the bladder, ureters and urethra. Your urinary tract carries the following functions:

  • Balances levels of electrolytes and metabolites
  • Flushes out blood waste products
  • Normalizes blood pressure and volume
  • Regulates blood pH values

Common kidney issues

There are four common kidney issues most people deal with:

1. Cysts

These are tiny sacs filled with fluid that are usually noncancerous. Kidney cysts rarely trigger serious health issues.

2. Infection

Kidney infections are caused by bacterial overgrowth in the bladder and urethra.

3. Injury

Acute kidney injury is a sudden episode of kidney damage or failure. The symptoms disappear within a few hours or days.

4. Stones

High levels of crystal-forming substances in urine result in the formation of kidney stones. Calcium oxalate buildups are the most common cause of stones.

Risk factors

Early intervention is of utmost importance. Race, gender, age and family history are factors you should take into consideration, as noted by Rumeyza Kazancioglu.

Demographics and lifestyle choices affect the risk of kidney issues.

In 2013, the Turkish researcher released a helpful article in the journal Kidney International Supplements. The researcher identified the risk factors of chronic kidney disease.

Risk factors categorized by age, ethnicity, family history, gender, lifestyle choices, and other factors

Age: Aging affect the renal function in both men and women. About half of elderly screened for CKD are positive.

Ethnicity: African-Americans in the US are 3-4 times more likely to deal with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) thanCaucasians. They have a five time higher risk of hypertensive ESRD.

Gender: Men have a higher risk of kidney issues. It may be related to testosterone levels.

Family history: About 25 percent of patients diagnosed with ESRD have a family member diagnosed with the same issue.

Lifestyle choices: Smoking, obesity, alcohol, heavy metal exposure and analgesic medication increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Medical conditions: The risk of kidney disease may be increased by cardiovascular disease, hepatitis C, HIV infection, hyperlipidemia, and metabolic syndrome.

25 hidden signs of kidney issues

Some people can’t “read” the signs their kidneys send. If you have any of the following symptoms, consult your doctor:

1. Fatigue

Kidney issues cause a lack of red blood cells which is why your brain and muscles are exhausted.

2. Dizziness

Your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, and there’s a lack of red blood cells.

3. Fainting

It’s similar to dizziness. Fainting is a common symptom in those dealing with kidney issues.

4. Weakness

Muscle weakness happens as a result of the lack of oxygen.

5. Brain fog

It stands for issues with alertness, concentration, learning, and memory.

6. Shortness of breath

Your body doesn’t have enough oxygen and there may be fluid buildups in the lungs. Both issues are caused by kidney issues.

7. Itchiness

Your kidneys remove waste, so kidney failure leads to dangerous buildups. Itchy skin is a common symptom of the accumulation of fluids.

8. Swollen hands and feet

The body is unable to eliminate excess fluid which is why your feet and hands are swollen.

9. Swollen neck and face

Kidney issues make your face and neck swollen, too.

10. Metallic taste in the mouth

Uremia or waste buildups in blood cause this symptom.

11. Bad breath

Bad breath is a result of waste buildups.

12. Nausea

Uremia causes nausea, too.

13. Upset stomach

It’s a co-symptom of nausea.

14. Vomiting

Kidney infection and other kidney issues cause vomiting.

15. Weight loss

It comes from poor appetite or vomiting.

16. Feeling cold

Anemia makes you feel cold really often.

17. Frequent urination

Damaged nephrons are the real cause of this.

18. Pressure during urination

Kidney issues cause this pressure.

19. Changes in urine

Foamy urine may be a sign of kidney issues. The same applies to those whose urine is brown, purple or red.

20. Trouble sleeping

There’s a strong link between poor sleep duration and CKD.

21. Loss of appetite

The lack of appetite is common in those dealing with kidney issues. The loss of appetite may be accompanied by a metallic taste in your mouth.

22. Abdominal swelling

Your kidneys don’t filter fluid properly, and you end up dealing with a swollen belly.

23. Bloody urine

It’s a serious issue and requires professional help.

24. Muscle cramps

Cramps are caused by imbalances of electrolytes and fluids, blood flow issues or damaged nerves.

25. Twitching

It’s caused by fluid imbalances.

Optimize kidney health

There are a few steps you should take to maintain your kidneys healthy and lower the risk of additional complications.

1. Healthy weight

Obesity is one of the top causes of kidney diseases.

2. Drink water

Water is the ultimate detox agent. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

3. Exercise

Be more active to keep your weight and health under control. Exercising helps those dealing with hypertension and prevents kidney disease. A 30-minute workout session is always a good idea.

4. OTCs

Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs affect the function of your kidneys if taken for too long.

5. Say ‘no’ to cigarettes

Smoking constricts blood vessels and lowers the flow of blood to kidneys. Kidneys are unable to function properly, and your blood pressure goes up. This also increases your risk of kidney cancer.

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