As we know, each human body has two kidneys, which are responsible for filtering the blood from nitrogenous waste products such as urea, creatinine, and acid and excreting urine.
Millions of people are living with various kidney diseases and most of them are not even aware of it. This is why kidney disease is often referred to as the “Silent Killer” because most people don’t feel any difference until the disease progresses. While people regularly check their blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels, a simple blood creatinine test is not done to detect obscure kidney problems. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the eighth leading cause of death in India, according to the 2015 Global Burden Disease (GBD) study.
There are several warning signs of kidney failure, but in most cases they are ignored or confused with other disorders (due to their non-specific nature). Therefore, one should be very careful and should get confirmatory tests (blood, urine, imaging, etc.) if there are symptoms of kidney disease. A person should go to a nephrologist and clarify his doubts. However, if you currently have high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, or coronary artery disease, or if you have a family history of the same type of kidney failure, or if you are over 60 years old, it is recommended that you have regular kidney tests after your age.
The only definitive way to diagnose kidney disease is through a confirmatory test, but here are some early warning signs of kidney disease.
One of the first symptoms is swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs: In these areas, you will begin to notice swelling, which is called edema. When kidney function begins to decline, sodium builds up, causing swelling in your shins and ankles. In short, anyone who notices new pedal edema should see a nephrologist for an immediate evaluation of kidney function.
Periorbital Edema: This refers to puffiness and swelling around the eye caused by fluid accumulation in the tissues. This is one of the earliest symptoms of kidney disease. This is especially true in people who lose a lot of protein through the kidneys. Loss of protein from the body lowers the oncotic pressure in the blood vessels, causing fluid to accumulate in various areas around the eye.
Cons: Early fatigue is almost always a universal symptom of kidney disease. As kidney function deteriorates, this symptom increases. A person may feel more tired and fatigued than on normal days, and may need more frequent rest because they are unable to exercise more strenuously. This is due to the accumulation of toxins and impurities in the blood due to impaired kidney function. Because it is a non-specific symptom, most people ignore it and do not investigate it closely.
Loss of appetite: Secondary to the accumulation of toxins such as urea, creatinine and acid, a person’s appetite decreases. Also, as kidney disease progresses, the taste changes, which patients often describe as metallic. If a person does not eat anything during the day, but feels full early, then this should raise alarm bells in the mind and kidney function should be evaluated.
Early Morning Nausea and Vomiting: Early morning nausea is one of the first signs of kidney failure, and it often chooses to hit a person when they go to the bathroom to brush their teeth in the morning. . It also affects the person’s appetite. During the end stage of renal failure, the patient has a tendency to frequent vomiting and complete loss of appetite.
Anemia: Hemoglobin levels begin to drop, the body may appear pale and unclear of bleeding. This is one of the common complications of kidney disease. It also causes weakness and fatigue. Anemia can be caused by many factors, including low levels of erythropoietin (erythropoietin is synthesized in the kidneys), low iron levels, and the accumulation of toxins that suppress bone marrow function.
Changes in urinary frequency: A person needs to monitor their urine output very carefully. For example, your urine output may decrease or you may need to urinate more often, especially at night (at night). This can be a warning sign and indicate that the kidney’s filtering units are damaged or in the process of being damaged. Sometimes it can be a sign of a urinary tract infection or an enlarged prostate in men. Therefore, changes in urine (increase or decrease).