Kidney failure sounds scary, but kidney failure is treatable if you catch it early! If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of kidney failure, you may have Chronic Kidney Disease. CKD, or Chronic Kidney Disease, is a progressive disease that does permanent damage to the kidneys. So it’s important to reach out to your doctor if you notice some of these symptoms!

Symptom #1
Fatigue, Low Energy, and Trouble Concentrating

These are symptoms of anemia. Anemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues.

Erythropoietin is a hormone (produced in the kidney) which stimulates bone marrow to produce red blood cells. As kidney function declines, erythropoietin production also declines which causes patients to become anemic.  Anemic patients often experience fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

Symptom #2
Bubbly or Foam in Urine

This may be due to protein which has leaked out into your urine. Proteinuria can be the first sign of kidney disease.  It also means that you officially have stage 1 CKD (even with a normal creatinine level!). Protein in urine is a risk factor for heart disease and increased mortality. Even teeny tiny amounts of albumin in urine increases the risk of a heart attack,  stroke, vascular disease, and death.

Symptom #3
Puffy Eyes or Swollen Face

The liver makes a very important protein called albumin. Albumin is the ‘glue’ that keeps water inside the blood vessels. The normal amount of protein excreted in the urine is up to 150 mg/day. With certain kidney conditions (most commonly Diabetic Nephropathy), more protein leaks out from the kidney into the urine. Having protein in the urine can be the first sign of kidney disease. In some cases, large volumes (over 3500 mg) of albumin in leak into the urine. This is known as Nephrotic Syndrome.  As mentioned above with loss of albumin, water ‘leaks’ out of the vascular space and one can develop edema, pleural effusion (water in your lung), and ascites (fluid in abdomen).

Symptom #4
Swollen Feet & Ankles

This can happen for two reasons. First, reduced kidney function can lead to salt and water retention, causing swelling in your feet and ankles. Another possible culprit is albumin leaking into urine. Leg swelling can also be a sign of heart disease, liver disease and chronic leg vein problems.

Symptom #5
Poor Appetite or Nausea

Although it’s one of the very general symptoms of kidney failure, poor appetite and nausea can happen with the build up of toxins. When this happens, food just doesn’t interest you. It may even make you feel sick.

Symptom #6
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Most people don’t know that kidneys play a huge role in regulating your blood pressure. With advanced kidney failure, your kidneys can’t remove salt and water and your BP begins to increase. Some of you may be on 2, 3 and even 4 meds to control your BP.

On the flip side, remember that hypertension can be the cause of kidney disease! Investing in a BP machine for your household is a good idea.

Symptom #7
Muscle Cramps

Electrolyte imbalances can result from impaired kidney function. For example, low calcium levels and poorly controlled phosphorus may contribute to muscle cramping.

Symptom #8
Unusual Shortness of Breath

This can happen for 2 reasons:

1. Extra fluid may be collecting in the lungs

2. As kidney function declines one becomes anemic (fewer red blood cells carrying oxygen to your body), leaving you feeling winded and shortness of breath with very little exertion.