8 Signs of Kidney Failure Most People Ignore

Signs of possible kidney failure can be confused with other conditions. It's important to seek medical help if you have 2 or more of the following symptoms.
8 Signs of Kidney Failure Most People Ignore

Last update: 30 May, 2022

Are you curious about what the symptoms of kidney failure are?  Don’t worry! Below, we’ll tell you about these symptoms as well as other interesting information related to kidney health.

Kidney failure is a disease that can manifest itself, in the early stages, without the person realizing it. In fact, its symptoms are often confused with other more common conditions. However, if you suspect kidney failure, it’s best to go to the doctor for a check-up and try to be diagnosed as early as possible.

Let’s look closer at this disease below, as well as the importance of paying attention to certain symptoms.

What is the function of the kidneys?

The kidneys located just below the rib cage and are responsible for processing 120 to 150 liters of blood a day. This means that these two organs play an essential role in the overall health of your body.

Their main functions are:

  • Regulation of electrolytes and volume.
  • Nitrogen waste excretion.
  • Elimination of acid produced by the body’s cells.
  • Synthesis of a variety of hormones, such as erythropoietin.
  • Metabolization of low molecular weight proteins, such as insulin.

When there is kidney failure, the kidneys are unable to perform their excretory function, which affects the health of the entire body. This results in various symptoms appearing.

8 symptoms of kidney failure you should know about

Next, let’s look at the eight symptoms of kidney failure so that you’re aware of them when discussing any problems with a doctor.

1. Inflammation, one symptom of kidney failure

Edema or inflamation.

The difficulties involved with kidney failure can lead to fluid retention that results in inflammation. While several different diseases can cause this same symptom, this is related to a kidney problem in most cases. Swelling is evident in:

  • Legs
  • Feet
  • Ankles
  • Face
  • Hands
  • Abdomen

2. Irregular heartbeat

The risk of kidney failure is higher for people who also have atrial fibrillation, one of the most common forms of irregular heartbeat in adults.

However, doctors don’t know yet to what extent treating atrial fibrillation will improve outcomes for people with chronic kidney disease.

3. Changes in urination

Changes in urination.

Changes in urination are easily detected and are the most apparent signs of a possible kidney disorder. Some of these changes include:
  • Pressure or difficulty during urination.
  • Bloody urine.
  • Much darker urine, or urine with a strong odor.
  • Increased or decreased amount of urine.
  • Frothy or bubbly urine.
  • Increased need to urinate at night.
  • Incontinence.
  • Burning at the end of urination.

4. Fatigue

One of this organ’s primary purposes is to produce the hormone called erythropoietin, which participates in red blood cell production for transporting oxygen through the blood.

If either of your kidneys fails, this substance production will decrease and you may consequently feel fatigued. Because of this, you may experience more fatigue, muscle pain, and difficulty concentrating.

5. Feeling cold

A woman feeling cold.

Kidney failure reduces red blood cell count and therefore increases the risk of anemia. Along with these types of reactions, one may lack energy and feel extremely cold.

People who suffer from this condition oftentimes state that the cold sensation doesn’t go away even when exposed to the sun and that they may sometimes even experience chills.

6. Lower back pain

Sharp, lower back pain or pain in the side could be signs of possible kidney disease. This pain is related to polycystic kidney disease, kidney stones, and liver conditions, which generally gets worse after standing for long periods of time.

This shouldn’t be confused with common back pain and is key to detecting some of these disorders early.

7. Metallic taste in your mouth, a symptom of kidney failure

Metalic taste in the mouth.

Kidney damage increases the presence of toxins in your blood and creates several disorders in the affected cells. A lot of people experience a bad taste when eating foods and have bad breath after eating.

They perceive a metallic taste in their mouth, like ammonia, and loss of enjoyment in several foods, which may lead to nutritional deficiencies.

8. Nausea and vomiting

Constant nausea and vomiting could be a warning sign of possible kidney problems. Due to the fact that waste isn’t properly disposed of, these symptoms could worsen.

What should you do if you have symptoms of kidney failure?

Signs of possible kidney failure vary from person to person and change according to how serious it is. Sometimes kidney failure occurs because you already have another disease or have other risk factors, such as age, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, liver disease, or some types of cancer and its treatments.

However, if you have two or more of the aforementioned symptoms, you should consider seeking medical attention. We also recommend following a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet and regular physical activity whenever possible.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Mann, J. F., Gerstein, H. C., Pogue, J., Bosch, J., & Yusuf, S. (2001). Renal insufficiency as a predictor of cardiovascular outcomes and the impact of ramipril: the HOPE randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 134(8), 629-636.
  • Nash, K., Hafeez, A., & Hou, S. (2002). Hospital-acquired renal insufficiency. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 39(5), 930-936.
  • Cambios de color u olor en la orina – Trastornos renales y del tracto urinario.” Manual MSD. Web. Apr 24, 2020

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.