How Can You Tell If Your Kidneys Are Not Working Properly
Your kidneys perform an incredible amount of work each day. They filter about 180 liters of fluid each day to produce 2 liters of urine. Your kidneys filter toxins from your bloodstream and take away excess fluids. They also play a role in keeping your blood pressure within normal limits, in making red blood cells, and even producing vitamin D.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, situated just below your ribcage on your back. Each kidney is about 4 to 5 long, about the size of a fist or a cell phone. The kidneys filter blood and produce urine that flows down tubes, known as ureters, to store in your bladder until the next time you urinate.
Kidneys can fail, which means they do not work properly. Doctors refer to this as kidney failure or renal failure.
Many health conditions can increase the risk of renal failure. Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Low blood pressure can damage your kidneys and lead to kidney problems.
There are three main types of kidney failure acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal failure. Acute kidney injury is a condition in which your kidneys quit working suddenly, over the course of a few hours or days, as the result of low blood pressure after an accident or other serious health crisis.
End-stage renal failure is a condition in which your kidneys quit working altogether and they can no longer support life.
What You Need To Know
You have two kidneys, located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Each is about the size of your fist. Tiny structures called nephrons are inside each kidney and they filter the blood. There are about a million of them.
The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes, toxins and extra water from the body balancing important salts and minerals in the blood and releasing hormones to help control blood pressure, manage anemia and help maintain strong bones. The waste and extra water removed by the kidneys become urine. The urine flows through tubes called ureters. It goes to your bladder, which stores the urine until you go to the bathroom.
When the kidneys are damaged, they can’t filter blood as they should. The result can be a build-up of wastes in your body, as well as other problems that can harm your health.
One in three American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today. Yet most arent able to identify the signs and symptoms. One in nine American adults has kidney disease and most dont know it.
At first, kidney disease is silent. Symptoms often dont appear until the kidneys are badly damaged. Many people don’t have any symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. Blood and urine tests are the only way to know if you have kidney disease.
Does Kidney Failure Cause Pain
Normal functioning kidneys filter amyloid from the blood stream. In kidney failure amyloid proteins in the blood rise, and can separate and clump together forming amyloid deposits into a variety of tissue and organs, including joints and tendons. This can result in symptoms of:
- Patients who are on dialysis may have discomfort when on the dialysis machine.
Underlying chronic disease pain
- Pain is often a consequence of the underlying chronic disease that led to kidney failure, for example:
- People with poorly controlled diabetes may develop diabetic neuropathy pain.
- People who have peripheral vascular disease also may have pain in their extremities, and may develop claudication .
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Is High Blood Pressure Serious
Yes. High blood pressure can cause problems in many organs in your body, including your kidneys and your heart. It makes your heart work harder. Over time, this can cause your heart to become larger and weaker, which increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. It can also cause damage to the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys. Over time, this can lead to kidney disease or kidney failure. It can also lead to early death. In fact, according to a recent report from the American Heart Association, high blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths per day!
Keeping your blood pressure in control lowers your risk for these problems. That is why it is important to find out if you have high blood pressure, and get treatment for it.
Signs Of Renal Failure
People with chronic kidney disease often do not experience symptoms when their CKD is in its earliest stages. In fact, symptoms do not usually appear until the damage associated with kidney disease has reached an advanced stage.
When signs of CKD appear, they may include:
- Swelling in your feet or ankles
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Too much urine or not enough urine
- Nausea and vomiting
Acute kidney injury can cause signs that include:
- Belly pain
Having these signs does not necessarily mean that your kidneys are not working. For more information, contact Associates in Nephrology. Our vein doctor in Taunton, MA, and Brockton, MA specializes in kidney disease, nephrology, and dialysis.
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What Is Kidney Disease
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that act as your bodys waste filtration system. They filter your blood 12 times per hour. Excess water and unwanted chemicals or waste in the blood are disposed of as urine .
Kidney disease is when your kidneys are damaged in some way and are not filtering your blood effectively.
Difficulty In Sleeping During Night
When kidneys fail to filter waste products properly, toxins remain present in human blood instead of leaving from the body via urine. This may cause difficulty in sleeping. In addition, there is a close connection in between chronic kidney disease and obesity, while the problem of sleep apnea becomes common among individuals suffering from chronic kidney diseases.
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What Is Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease is a slow and gradually progressive disease that causes kidney dysfunction. However, if one kidney stops functioning correctly, the other can carry out normal functions.
In many instances, a kidney will deteriorate to a certain level of dysfunction and not get any worse. Sometimes, however, the condition may progress to kidney failure.
Most people with chronic kidney disease are not aware that they have it because symptoms do not usually develop in the early stages of the disease. Typically, by the time a person notices the symptoms, the disease is in an advanced stage, and damage to the kidneys is irreversible.
Swelling Around Your Eyes
According to the Mayo Clinic, kidney disease can create “extra fluid and sodium in your circulation,” which often leads to swelling around the eyes. In the case of nephrotic syndrome, in which too much protein is secreted through the urine, swelling also occurs due to lower levels of albumin in the blood.
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What Are The Kidneys Where Are They Located
The kidneys play key roles in body function, not only by filtering the blood and getting rid of waste products, but also by balancing the electrolyte levels in the body, controlling blood pressure, and stimulating the production of red blood cells.
The kidneys are located in the abdomen toward the back, normally one on each side of the spine. They get their blood supply through the renal arteries directly from the aorta and send blood back to the heart via the renal veins to the vena cava.
You Feel Tired And Sluggish During The Day
Sometimes, fatigue is caused by lack of a hormone known as erythropoietin, or EPO. The main responsibility of EPO is to stimulate the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying energizing oxygen to the cells throughout your body.
Stressed kidneys do not produce enough EPO, therefore reducing the number of red blood cells, which makes you feel weak and tired out.
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What If My Numbers Are Not Normal
If your numbers are not in the normal or healthy range, your doctor will work with you to come up with a treatment plan. There is no cure for chronic kidney disease , but you can prevent further damage, particularly if you are in the early stages. Much of the prevention efforts will include changes to diet and lifestyle, like avoiding excess salts and proteins, exercising, quitting smoking, and controlling your blood pressure.
If you are in the later stage of kidney disease, you may have to undergo dialysis, which helps your kidney filter the blood when it cannot do it on its own. In the case of renal failure, a transplant may be needed.
Tiredness Less Energetic Or Difficulty In Concentration
Severe reduction in the function of kidney/kidneys may result in the formation of various impurities, including toxins in the human blood. This makes people to feel weak or tired and further create difficulty in their concentration. In addition, a few people may experience anemia trouble with kidney disease, which further results in fatigue and weakness.
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Urine Tests For Kidney Disease
Damaged or inflamed kidneys leak substances such as blood or protein into the urine. The preferred test for detecting protein in the urine is a urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio test, which shows the amount of albumin in the urine.
A urine ACR test should be done at least once a year if the person has diabetes or high blood pressure, and every two years if the person has any of the other identified risk factors for developing chronic kidney disease.
A urine ACR test is performed by sending a sample of your urine to a laboratory for analysis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure
In early stages of kidney disease, many people experience few or no symptoms. Its important to note that chronic kidney disease can still cause damage even though you feel fine.
Chronic kidney disease and kidney failure can cause different symptoms for different people. If your kidneys arent working properly, you may notice one or more of the following signs:
- Poor appetite or metallic taste of food
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Whats The Difference Between Chronic Kidney Disease And Acute Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease is more common and develops slowly over time. Many people with chronic kidney disease do not even realize they have it, particularly in the earlier stages, so its important to be familiar with your numbers. If you have symptoms, they might include itching, muscle cramps, fatigue, too much urine or not enough, foamy urine, blood in your urine, swelling, nausea or vomiting, trouble catching your breath, or trouble sleeping.
Acute kidney disease comes on suddenly and often has noticeable symptoms like back pain, nausea, diarrhea, or fever. In some cases, it can be reversed. If you are having these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.
Kidney Disease And Cardiovascular Risks
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in people with chronic kidney disease. Compared to the general population, people with chronic kidney disease are two to three times more likely to have cardiovascular problems such as:
This increased risk is partly caused by factors common to both chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure. However, researchers are discovering that chronic kidney disease is, in itself, an important risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, and a history of cardiovascular disease is a risk factor for the development of chronic kidney disease.
The kidneys regulate water and salts, remove certain wastes and make various hormones. Kidney disease increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in many ways, including:
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Are Your Kidneys Healthy Know Your Numbers To Find Out
One in three Americans are at risk for kidney disease, and it can affect anyone at any time. The best way to treat kidney disease and prevent lasting damage is to catch it early, so being aware of your kidney health and checking on it regularly is important.
The good news is, assessing your kidney health is simple. There are just two non-invasive tests you need to take to evaluate your kidneys, and those two resulting numbers become your barometer. Being proactive about your kidney health is all about knowing your numbers and how they compare to what is considered healthy.
Warning Signs Your Kidneys Arent Functioning Properly
Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 31 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease . American Kidney Fund
Why Are the Kidneys So Important?
Our kidneys are always at work, and they have numerous life-sustaining responsibilities. The size of a large fist, their primary function is to filter and cycle blood, which it does at a rate of 200 quarts every 24 hours.
Here are some their other bodily functions:
remove waste products from the body
remove drugs from the body
balance the bodys fluids
release hormones that regulate blood pressure
produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
control the production of red blood cells
They also ensure the bodys proper utilization of minerals by balancing the bodys acid, potassium, and salt levels. Other organs, including the liver, rely on them to produce and transport vital hormones.
Most medical conditions that affect the kidney target the organs structures. These structures include the renal artery and renal veins , its tissues, and the ureter, which moves urine from the kidney to the bladder.
Here, well discuss ten potential warning signs that your kidneys arent working correctly. If you identify with one or more of the following symptoms, please consider seeking the advice of a medical professional.
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Prognosis Of Chronic Kidney Disease
If chronic kidney disease is caused by a disorder that can be corrected and if that disorder has not been present for too long, then kidney function may improve when the causative disorder is successfully treated. Otherwise, kidney function tends to worsen over time. The rate of decline in kidney function depends somewhat on the underlying disorder causing chronic kidney disease and on how well the disorder is controlled. For example, diabetes and high blood pressure, particularly if poorly controlled, cause kidney function to decline more rapidly. Chronic kidney disease is fatal if not treated.
When the decline in kidney function is severe , survival is usually limited to several months in people who are not treated, but people who are treated with dialysis can live much longer. However, even with dialysis, people with end-stage kidney failure die sooner than people their age who do not have end-stage kidney disease. Most die from heart or blood vessel disorders or infections.
What Is Kidney Failure
Kidney failure means one or both kidneys can no longer function well on their own. Sometimes, kidney failure is temporary and comes on quickly. Other times, it is a chronic condition that can get worse slowly over a long time.
Kidney failure may sound serious, and it is. But treatments such as dialysis and kidney transplant help many people with limited kidney function continue to live fulfilling lives.
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Feeling To Urinate Frequently
If you have the feeling of urinating frequently, particularly during the nighttime, it may indicate a sign/symptom of a kidney disease. Reason for this is that damaged kidneys filters increase the urge of urinating frequently. This sometimes may even indicate a sign of enlarged prostate or urine infection problem.
Why Are The Kidneys So Important
Most people know that a major function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body. These waste products and excess fluid are removed through the urine. The production of urine involves highly complex steps of excretion and re-absorption. This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals.
The critical regulation of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content is performed by the kidneys. The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs. For example, a hormone produced by the kidneys stimulates red blood cell production. Other hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.
The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform the following functions:
- remove waste products from the body
- remove drugs from the body
- balance the body’s fluids
- release hormones that regulate blood pressure
- produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
- control the production of red blood cells
Below you will find more information about the kidneys and the vital role they play in keeping your body functioning.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
A nephrologist receives special training in kidney evaluation and treatment. You may benefit from a kidney specialists expert opinion if:
- You have trouble keeping your blood pressure levels in a normal range, even with medication.
- Your blood sugar levels fluctuate widely.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/10/2018.
Why Wait Until Your Kidneys Are Diseased
While the study was conducted on people with kidney disease, we could safely extrapolate the recommendations to those who want to avoid kidney disease and achieve optimal kidney function now, especially as we age.
In fact, additional research points to the actuality of physiological changes in the kidneys as we age. The research notes that a progressive reduction of the glomerular filtration rate and renal blood flow are observed in conjunction with aging. The reason for these phenomena is a decrease in the plasma flow in the glomerulus, a bundle of capillaries that partially form the renal corpuscle.2
In addition, the aging kidneys experience other structural changes, such as a loss of renal mass, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli that constrict or dilate blood vessels. The study concludes with a notable summation:
age-related changes in cardiovascular hemodynamics, such as reduced cardiac output and systemic hypertension, are likely to play a role in reducing renal perfusion and filtration. Finally, it is hypothesized that increases in cellular oxidative stress that accompany aging result in endothelial cell dysfunction and changes in vasoactive mediators resulting in increased atherosclerosis, hypertension and glomerulosclerosis.2
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