The Most Significant Early Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States of America. According to the American Kidney Fund, around 31 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease and men are more likely than women to have CKD. The leading causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure, and that is why in some cases people fail to realize they have kidney problems until it’s too late. What seems to be a symptom of a different ailment ends up becoming the main health issue with many of these patients. One of the biggest problems with kidney disease is the psychological aspect that brings with it, as patients often feel like they are losing control over their life as their body doesn’t seem to respond to them, or acts in ways they aren’t familiar with.


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The kidneys are responsible for keeping the human body’s chemistry in balance, a task that truly takes a toll on these amazing organs. As resilient as they are, the kidneys often suffer due to many different reasons and eventually become overwhelmed with all the stress they must perform under.

Today in Joe Cosgrove’s Blog, we want to take the time to look at some of the most significant early signs that can let you know that you may be developing kidney disease, with the hopes that you can do something about it before treatment becomes necessary.

Changes in urine

Since the kidneys are the organs in charge of producing the urine, this byproduct will be one of the first indicators that something may be amiss. Changes in urine can be identified as those in the appearance of color and the presence of foam, and also changes in the frequency in which the patient urinates or feels the urge to do so but is unable to produce any liquid. In some cases, there may be a pain while urinating or also the presence of blood.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath may be present in the onset of kidney disease because the fluid buildup in the body can be so severe that it can reach the lungs, something that will undoubtedly affect a patient’s breathing. Anemia or the lack of red blood cells in the organism can be another reason why patients may feel a lot of difficulty breathing.

Trouble sleeping

If kidneys stop working correctly, they amount of toxins that build up in the body will reach dangerous levels and will start affecting the organism in many ways. Patients report having trouble sleeping due to a constant feeling of discomfort that cannot be easily identified, they simply feel like they can’t sit still and have a lot of trouble resting.

Dry and itchy skin


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Dry skin and constant itching are also symptoms of excess toxin build up in the body. Bone disease is also something else that may be present when kidneys fail, and constant itching is a clear symptom of that complication. Most of this happens because kidneys are losing the ability to properly balance nutrients, toxins, and minerals in the body.

Swollen joints

Swollen joints and general swelling are a sign that the body is holding excess water because they kidneys are not able to properly regulate bodily fluids, so they stay inside the body longer than they need to be. All of this is a side effect of sodium retention, something that happens because they kidneys are failing, and as sodium is kept in the body, so is water because it is retained by the sodium itself.

Puffiness around the eyes

If the kidneys aren’t working correctly, then things like protein will start to leak into the urine or other areas of the body. This together with excess fluids being retained is going to start showing in the face of the patient as swelling of the eyelids and cheeks.

Poor appetite

Patients with kidney disease will not feel the need to eat as much as healthy individuals. This is rather significant since these patients will still continue to gain weight even as they eat less everyday. The lack of appetite happens due to excess toxin build up in the body.

Muscle cramps

Electrolyte imbalance can start to manifest in the muscle by cramping and general soreness of the area. Low-level calcium and an imbalance in phosphorous levels make it, so they body is not properly using the fluids that it retains, and that can create painful muscle cramps.

Dizziness and problem thinking clearly

Another one of the symptoms has to do with mental acuity and the ability to think clearly. The brain may not be getting enough oxygen, and that is how it starts to show. Patients with kidney failure may begin to feel dizzy and have flash episodes in which they faint or lose balance. The ability to think clearly and solve simple problems starts to diminish as the body deteriorates.

Understanding the 5 stages of Chronic Kidney Disease

We do not have to stress out or even define what CKD is because we have discussed it in this blog in several articles and we already know what it is all about.

Instead today we are going to take a deep look at the 5 stages of Chronic Kidney Disease that were developed or designed by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) in order to understand better Kidney diseases and to give doctors  some sort of guideline that will help them identify the evolution of the kidney disease and know how to give the patient the best care possible for each stage.

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Let’s take a look at those 5 stages.

Stage 1 and 2:

Somebody that is in stage 1 or 2 of CKD has a small kidney damage and his or her glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is normal or a bit higher than 90 ml/min. in this stage, symptoms are not common and the kidneys are still working normally. If the person is to find out he or she is on stage 1 CKD it is because the person was being tested for other things and the results came out with certain amount of creatinine levels or they discovered blood or protein in the urine or there was an imaging test and the results said there was a kidney damage.

For people that are in this stage the treatment only focuses on a healthy diet including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, no fats or low fat diets, control the intake of sugar and sodium, have a good weight and exercise very regularly, take vitamins recommended by doctors and definitively stop smoking and having bad habits for the body.

When it comes to stage 2, the description is just the same with the disease having no symptoms and the kidney working at a very good level. The only difference here is that the kidney already has a mild damage and it is getting a bit late to discover it or to treat it and the glomerular filtration rate is around 60-89 ml/min.

Stage 3:

Here the person has already a moderate kidney damage. This stage has two parts which are called A and B. in stage 3A the glomerular filtration rate is 45-59 mL/min, and in stage 3B the glomerular filtration rate is 30-44 mL/min.  Here the disease is already noticeable and patients start to feel the symptoms. A condition called uremia appears and secondary complications such as high blood pressure, anemia and bone disease start to appear as well.

The symptoms for this stage are the feeling of being tired all the time, high retention of fluids, extremities start to swell and the patient starts feeling that his or her breath is just not enough, urine changes color to a more reddish, brownish color or it even contains blood which will make it red, lower back pain, problems with sleep and muscle cramps.

In this stage, the kidney is working at a 50% performance and the idea is to help the patient keep their kidneys working as long as possible.

In this stage, a very controlled diet and medications are essential to make the kidney live longer. When it comes to medications ( the diet is very important even since stage 1) in this stage they become essential to control glucose levels and have a very good blood pressure in order to maintain the kidney working for as long as possible. The medications doctors prescribe in this stage are ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers).

Stage 4:

Here the patient has a real problem that needs to be tackled as soon as possible and with the correct treatment. Their glomerular filtration rate is 15-30 ml/min. and treatments are now very viable options. Unfortunately, a patient with stage 4 CKD will have to get a kidney transplant in the near future. In this stage conditions like anemia, uremia, bone disease, high blood pressure, heart complications and cardiovascular diseases start to become present.

The symptoms in this stage are fatigue, hard kidney pain in the lower back, sleeping problems, nausea, vomiting, a  metallic taste in their mouth, bad breath, loss of appetite due to the flavor in their mouth, difficulty in concentrating and numbness or tingling in the toes or fingers.

In this stage, there are 3 different types of treatments which are Hemodialysis, Peritoneal dialysis and, Kidney transplant

Stage 5:

Unfortunately, at this stage, the person has no options and it is a terminal disease called end-stage renal disease (ESRD) that has a glomerular filtration rate of 15 ml/min or less. In this stage, the kidneys no longer work and don’t have the ability to do anything at all. In this stage dialysis or a kidney transplant will be needed to survive.  

It is very important to understand these five stages so patients and doctors can find out about the disease in the early stages and give patients the option of having a very good quality of life.

Be sure to also read this post about how to choose the right treatment in case of renal failure?

10 Signs Of Kidney Disease You Need To Know

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition known by a gradual loss of kidney function over time.  In the United States, the incidence of chronic kidney disease is increasing more rapidly in people aged 65 or older, and in the last 15 years it has doubled. As it is the case with many diseases, early prevention and treatment are key to battling them. Checking your blood sugar level along with your doctor, maintaining good eating habits and a healthy body weight can go a long way in helping you prevent this and many other conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Here at Joe Cosgrove blog, we always bring you the best advice when it comes to everything having to do with your kidneys and the preventive health that comes along with these conditions. In today’s article, we want to talk about some of the most common symptoms and sign that while may seem unrelated to kidney health, they are very accurate indicators when present together, that something may be wrong and you should look into it.   

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Side Or Leg Pain

Pain is not usually a common symptom of chronic kidney disease and even pain that is felt in the area near the kidneys is usually not related to any renal condition. However, in some cases, those suffering from kidney problems may have pain located in the upper back area where the kidneys are or in the side of their torso. Sometimes these pains are related to other symptoms like bladder infections or cysts.

Changes In Urination

Changes in frequency or urges to urinate are only some of the most common symptoms related to kidney conditions. As the kidneys produce urine, it is common to also see urine that is particularly foamy, very pale or extremely dark in color or in some cases even containing blood. Difficulty urinating or feeling urges but being unable to discharge are also some commonly reported signs.

Itchy Skin

Since your kidneys work as a filter for toxins and remove waste from your bloodstream, their malfunctioning allows a build-up of that waste material in your blood, something that can cause severe itching all over your body and in some cases, visible rashes. It is not uncommon that patients scratch so much they break the skin.

Feeling Tired

Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin or EPO. The purpose of this hormone is to promote the creation of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less EPO, something that makes your muscles and brain tire very quickly. This is a common symptom of anemia. This feeling of being tired can be a symptom of many different things, but it is commonly present in kidney diseases.

Having Trouble Sleeping

When the kidneys aren’t working properly, waste stays in the blood rather than leaving the body through the urine. This can cause significant discomfort and inability to sleep. There is also a connection between obesity and chronic kidney disease, and sleep apnea is more common in those with chronic kidney disease, compared with the general population.

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When the kidneys aren’t working properly, it is common for the body to retain excess fluids that cannot be eliminated normally through the urine. This condition of retaining fluids can cause swelling in the legs, feet, ankles, hands and in the face especially around the eyes. This puffiness around the eyes has to do with retaining more protein than normal inside the body.

Nausea And Vomiting

Uremia is a condition in which the body is over-saturated with waste and toxin build-up. When this happens, it is common for people to experience a lot of nausea and vomiting. Having a metallic taste on their mouth is also common and it makes the condition the more unbearable.

Shortness Of Breath

Extra fluid can build up in the lungs and the shortage of red blood cells in the blood can lead to the feeling of being short of air. Trouble catching your breath is a very common condition related to most kidney diseases. Feeling like you can’t breathe is a terrible feeling and it should not be ignored if it happens, so if this is present, you need to see your doctor immediately.

Dizziness And Trouble Concentrating

Anemia can affect the brain by not delivering enough oxygen through the blood. This condition can cause dizziness, memory loss, and real difficulty when concentrating. Even some of the simplest tasks can be taxing on a person suffering from chronic kidney disease. This leads to mental exhaustion and irritability as well.

Poor Appetite

On top of being a symptom of its own, the loss of appetite is very common in patients with kidney disease or renal related issues, and it can be severely made worse by other symptoms like nausea and dizziness that can cause you to stop eating on their own. The buildup of toxins saturates the body and shut down hunger and the need for food and fluid intake.