Symp­toms of kid­ney dis­ease you shouldn’t ig­nore

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Health Mat­ters Dr Anitha An­chan

IT is im­por­tant to iden­tify kid­ney dis­ease early be­cause in most cases the dam­age in the kid­neys can’t be un­done.

Most peo­ple are not aware of the fact that kid­ney dis­eases can be silent killers.

They may not show any symp­toms for a long time till the sit­u­a­tion be­comes crit­i­cal. (Why is it silent?) Even young peo­ple are now prone to it. It is im­por­tant to recog­nise the symp­toms of kid­ney dis­eases to catch them early.

There are many causes of kid­ney dis­ease. The most com­mon causes are di­a­betes and hy­per­ten­sion. Even an un­healthy life­style with a high calo­rie diet, cer­tain medicines, lots of soft drinks and sugar con­sump­tion can also cause kid­ney dam­age.

The first symp­tom of kid­ney dis­ease is changes in the amount and fre­quency of your uri­na­tion. There may be an in­crease or de­crease in the amount and/or its fre­quency, es­pe­cially at night.

The urine may also look more dark coloured. You may feel the urge to uri­nate but are un­able to do so when you get to the re­stroom. Some­times you have dif­fi­culty or feel pres­sure or pain while void­ing.

Uri­nary tract in­fec­tions may cause symp­toms of such pain or burn­ing dur­ing uri­na­tion. When these in­fec­tions spread to the kid­neys, they may cause fever and pain in your back.

Blood in the urine is a symp­tom of kid­ney dis­ease which is a def­i­nite cause for con­cern. There may be other rea­sons, but it is ad­vis­able to visit your doc­tor in case you no­tice it.

Kid­neys re­move wastes and ex­tra fluid from the body. When they are un­able to do so, this ex­tra fluid will build up caus­ing swelling in your hands, feet, an­kles and/or your face.

Ex­treme fa­tigue and gen­er­alised weak­ness are an­other symp­tom. Your kid­neys pro­duce a hor­mone called ery­thro­poi­etin which helps make red blood cells that carry oxy­gen. In kid­ney dis­ease lower lev­els of ery­thro­poi­etin cause de­creased red blood cells in your body re­sult­ing in anaemia. There is de­creased oxy­gen de­liv­ery to cells caus­ing gen­er­alised weak­ness and ex­treme fa­tigue.

Dizzi­ness and in­abil­ity to con­cen­trate are a cause for con­cern. Anaemia as­so­ci­ated with kid­ney dis­ease also de­pletes your brain of oxy­gen which may cause dizzi­ness, trou­ble with con­cen­tra­tion, etc. If you have kid­ney dis­ease you may feel cold even when in a warm sur­round­ing due to anaemia. Pyelonephri­tis (kid­ney in­fec­tion) may cause fever with chills.

An­other symp­tom to look out for is skin rashes and itch­ing. Kid­ney fail­ure causes waste build-up in your blood. This can cause se­vere itch­ing and skin rashes.

Ammonia breath and metal­lic taste need to be in­ves­ti­gated by a doc­tor. Kid­ney fail­ure in­creases level of urea in the blood (uraemia). This urea is bro­ken down to ammonia in the saliva caus­ing urine-like bad breath called ammonia breath. It is also usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with an un­pleas­ant metal­lic taste (dys­geu­sia) in the mouth.

The build-up of waste prod­ucts in your blood in kid­ney dis­ease can also cause nau­sea and vom­it­ing.

Kid­ney dis­ease causes fluid to build up in the lungs. And also, anaemia, a com­mon side-ef­fect of kid­ney dis­ease, starves your body of oxy­gen. You may have trou­ble catch­ing your breath due to these fac­tors.

Pain in the back or sides is an­other in­di­ca­tion of the pos­si­bil­ity of kid­ney dis­ease. Some cases of kid­ney dis­ease may cause pain. You may feel a se­vere cramp­ing pain that spreads from the lower back into the groin if there is a kid­ney stone in the ureter.

Pain may also be re­lated to poly­cys­tic kid­ney dis­ease, an in­her­ited kid­ney dis­or­der, which causes many fluid-filled cysts in the kid­neys. In­ter­sti­tial cys­ti­tis, a chronic in­flam­ma­tion of the blad­der wall, causes chronic pain and dis­com­fort.

To re­duce your chances of get­ting se­vere kid­ney prob­lems, see your doc­tor when you ob­serve one or more of the above symp­toms. If caught early, kid­ney dis­ease can be treated very ef­fec­tively. — un­der­ground­

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