10 Symptoms of Kidney Failure

Sometimes, one may start to feel small symptoms without paying much attention to them: urgency to urinate, pain in one side of the back, tiredness…kidney failure can have several different indicators that must be recognized in order to take action as soon as possible, and to allow the kidneys to continue fulfilling their important function.

Kidney failure refers to a specific problem in how the two kidneys functions (or one, if you only have one kidney).  Whenever they do not function correctly, a lot of functions begin to change.  These changes depend on whether your kidney failure is acute or chronic.  Let’s take a closer look here.

Symptoms of kidney failure

Touch kidneys1. Changes in urine

This is the most common symptom, and the first to appear before kidney failure.  It’s quite possible that this is related to another disease, but it is one indicator that alerts that something is not right, and you should see a doctor.

  • Urgency to urinate, more frequent urination, and you may even have to get up several times a night to urinate.
  • Changes in urine: clearer or darker, urinating in much smaller quantities…the appearance of blood is also normal.
  • Sensation of pressure.

2. Swelling

Patients that suffer from kidney failure cannot remove extra fluid from the body.  The kidneys are incapable of filtering normally, therefore fluids tend to accumulate.  It is quite normal to have swollen leg, ankle, feet, and even a swollen face.  A lot of people claim that, for example, they can’t put on their shoes…which is also a very evident symptom.

3. Fatigue

FatigueIndividuals with health livers produce a hormone called erythropoietin which is responsible for our body producing red blood cells in charge of transporting oxygen to blood.  But if you suffer from kidney failure, this hormone is produced is lesser quantities and your muscles, and even your brain, start to tire out due to lack of oxygen.  It is a type of anemia associated with kidney failure.

It is normal, for example, for one to feel the urge to sleep, feeling exhausted.




4. Skin outbreaks

By not being able to eliminate waste from the blood properly, the kidneys slowly lose their function and useless toxins and elements accumulate in the body.  This translates to itching and aches, and general discomfort as if something were disrupting you from the inside.  One cannot avoid continually scratching.

5. Metallic taste in the mouth

The accumulation of waste in the blood (what is known as uremia) changes the normal taste of food ingested.  You might even stop taking pleasure out of eating because meat no longer tastes like meat, nor are sweets pleasant…which is why weight loss is common.  The difficulty that the kidneys have in eliminating waste has a lot of secondary effects, and a bad taste in the mouth is quite common.  In fact, patients usually state that they have an “iron taste” in their mouths.

6. Nausea and vomiting

Yet again, excessive waste in the blood causes the body to react to the uremia.  Patients begin to vomit, feel ill, nauseated, and consequently, lose weight.  The stomach also tends to feel full when in reality, it isn’t.  Individuals feel heavy and slow..

7. Shortness of breath

It’s difficult to catch one’s breath after an activity: climbing stairs, running, and even walking slightly faster than normal.  This is due to two causes: there is an excess of fluid in the body and this fluid could accumulate in the lung, consequently making it difficult to breathe.  The fact that one also suffers from anemia associated with kidney failure, makes it more difficult to catch one’s breath than before.

8. Feeling cold

Anemia makes one feel colder than normal.  It is also a very characteristic fact of kidney failure.

9. Concentration problems

Because of circulatory problems, blood that is not well filtered, and having the hormone erythropoietin altered, oxygen does not arrive in normal doses to the brain.  It does not obtain sufficient energy and concentration problems begin to emerge.  It becomes more difficult, one feels tired and even dizzy.  It’s normal to experience minor memory loss.

10. Side pain and leg pain

Lumbar back painSome people with kidney problems suffer from back pain or side pain; a symptom that could sometimes be confused with other conditions.  This pain extends from one side to the leg, and is a very acute pain that sometimes prevents one from leading a normal life.  This symptom is probably associated with polycystic kidney disease, a disease that creates cysts that fill with fluid in the the kidneys and even in the liver.  It is very painful.

How can I prevent kidney failure?

Kidney failure is, in a lot of cases, due to genetic factors, but you should keep in mind that a few good life and diet habits can reduce the risk of suffering from his dangerous disease by up to 60%.  So how to do it?  Avoid being overweight, hypertensive, having high cholesterol, walk daily for at least an hour, and above all, take care of your diet in the follow ways:

  • Avoid red meats (and generally all types of animal proteins)
  • Avoid dairy and eggs.
  • Avoid carbonated and sugar-sweetened beverages (the kidneys suffer a lot when processing them).
  • Avoid tobacco, coffee and alcohol.
  • Drink two liters of water a day, increase your dose of fruits and vegetables, both raw as well as cooked.