The kidneys are 2 small body organs found in the back of the abdomen, right under the rib cage, on both sides of the spine. The main function of these organs is to filter out any toxins present in the body.
They are responsible for filtering about 20-150 quarts of blood to create a couple quarts of urine that consists of extra fluids and waste materials. In fact, this process is of great importance for keeping a proper balance of body chemicals.
But, many people in the United States suffer from some type of kidney problems. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 1 in 10 Americans suffers from some level of chronic kidney disease.
Experts claim that chronic kidney disease is affecting more and more people nowadays since they do not experience any specific symptoms until the disease has progressed to that extent they need hospitalization.
Unfortunately, chronic kidney disease could increase the risk of total kidney failure.
What Are the Main Culprits of Chronic Kidney Disease?
In most cases, chronic kidney disease occurs when a certain condition weakens the kidneys, thus resulting in kidney damage. The kidney damage may worsen after a few months or years.
The most common conditions that elevate the risk of chronic kidney disease or CKD include:
- High blood pressure;
- Diabetes type-1 or -2;
- Polycystic kidney disease;
- Kidney inflammation (Glomerulonephritis);
- Inflammation of the tubules and surrounding kidney structures (interstitial nephritis);
- Prolonged urinary tract obstruction triggered by kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and some types of cancer;
- Recurrent kidney infections (Pyelonephritis);
- A condition that makes the urine flow back towards the kidneys (Vesicoureteral reflux);
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Kidney Issues?
You should not ignore any signs or symptoms of kidney distress. So, in case you experience any of the following symptoms, consider visiting your doctor to check for any kidney issues.
Changes in the Urine
It is actually one of the first signs of kidneys problems.
- Trouble urinating
- Pressure during urinating
- Foamy urine
- More frequent urination in larger amounts and pale urine
- Dark urine accompanied by urinating in small amounts or less frequent urinating
- Urinating several times during the night
Hand and Foot Swelling
As mentioned previously, the kidneys have a main function to filter any fluid in the body. So, in case the fluid starts backing up, then you will experience foot or hand swelling because the kidneys have trouble removing any excess fluid from your body.
What’s more, the presence of protein in the urine is another indicator of kidney problems. Also, a telltale puffiness around the eyes triggered by large amounts of protein in the urine is a sign of kidney issues. Joint swelling is also a common sign of these health problems.
Shortness of Breath
Even though shortness of breath may be a sign of many other conditions, but it can also be a sign of kidney disease. Namely, in case the kidneys are overwhelmed with toxins, the excess fluid usually accumulate in the lungs, thus resulting in shortness of breath.
Metallic Taste in the Mouth
In some cases, your body may be filled with toxins, so that you can experience metallic taste in your mouth. In other words, metallic taste in the mouth may be a sign of kidney problems. Any unfiltered waste accumulation may linger in the blood, thus changing the taste of food. Plus, it can also contribute to a lack of appetite and bad breath.
Lower Back Pain
As kidneys are located in the lower back area, lower back pain is usually associated with kidney infections, damage, or failure. However, the lower back pain can be also triggered by kidney stones or a urinary tract infection.
Vomiting and Nausea
You may experience nausea and vomiting, if there is too much toxins and waste material in your blood. Also, it may be an indicator of a urinary tract infection. Hence, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider if you experience severe nausea and vomiting followed by lower back or abdominal pain.
If your body is overloaded with toxins, then it tries to eliminate them through the skin pores. So, you may experience dry, irritated skin, skin rashes or open sores.
Moreover, the topical application of any skin ointments and creams can help alleviate the symptoms, but they do not treat the root cause of the problem.
Dizziness and Poor Concentration
The excess toxin build-up in the kidneys can also result in inefficient oxygen flow to the brain. Furthermore, it may cause dizziness, poor concentration and memory and brain fog.
If the kidneys function properly, then they create a hormone called erythropoietin or EPO. Additionally, this hormone elevates the red blood cell number in the blood. Moreover, these red blood cells enable good oxygen flow to each body part.
On the other hand, a lack of oxygen can result in severe fatigue.
However, chronic fatigue could also be a sign of anemia. Therefore, in case you experience this symptom, it is recommended to consult your doctor.
As mentioned above, healthy kidneys create erythropoietin, which is a hormone that makes the body produce red blood cells. In addition, any kidney problems can negatively affect this process, thus contributing to a lack of red blood cells that carry oxygen. In such a case, you can experience anemia, which is characterized by constantly feeling cold.
Here Is What to Do to Support Proper Kidney Health:
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that you should make the following lifestyle and dietary changes in order to protect your kidneys from any damage:
- Check your blood glucose regularly, in particular in case you are a diabetic.
- Regulate your blood pressure levels by consuming the right foods and herbal teas.
- In case you experience any symptoms of kidney issues, limit your consumption of foods rich in sodium, fat, protein, and potassium.
- Visit your doctor once a year to check your kidneys.
- Consult your doctor in case you have a feeling you suffer form a kidney or bladder infection.
- Take painkillers only if necessary since they can increase your risk of kidney damage. It is good to know that the regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen and ibuprofen can damage your kidneys.
- Avoid smoking because it can also increase your risk of kidney damage.