Symptoms of kidney diseases vary from person to person. A lotdepends on the type of underlying disease and its severity. Symptoms are often, vague and non-specific, and therefore the disease is difficult to diagnose in the early stages.
Swelling of face, abdomen and feet, is a frequent presentation of kidney disease. One characteristic of swelling due to kidney disease is that it is usually noticed first below the eyelids (this is called periorbital edema) and is most noticeable in the morning.
Kidney failure is a common and important cause of swelling. But one needs to bear in mind that swelling does not necessarily indicate kidney failure. In certain kidney diseases, despite normal kidney function , swelling still occurs (e.g. nephrotic syndrome). Equally important, is the fact that swelling may not be seen in some patients despite significant kidney failure.
Loss of appetite, abnormal taste in the mouth and poor food intake are common problems faced by a person with kidney failure. With worsening of kidney function, there is increased level of toxic substances, which leads to nausea, vomiting and occassionlly, intractable hiccups
In patients with kidney failure, hypertension is common. If hypertension occurs at a young age (less than 30 years) or blood pressure is very high at the time of diagnosis, the reason may be that of a kidney disease.
Generalized weakness, early fatigue, poor concentration and pallor are common complaints of a person with anemia (low hemoglobin level). At times these may be the only complaints of a person in the early stages of chronic kidney failure. If anemia does not respond to standard treatment, it is essential to rule out kidney failure.
Low back pain, generalized body aches, itching and leg cramps are frequent complaints in kidney disease. Retardation of growth, short stature and bending of leg bones are common in children with kidney failure.
Although a person may have some of the above mentioned symptoms and signs, it does not necessarily mean that the person is suffering from kidney disease. However, in the presence of such symptoms, it is highly recommended to consult the doctor and to rule out any possibility of kidney disease and other systemic illnesses by blood and urine tests. It is important to remember that serious kidney problems may exist silently for a long period without significant symptoms andsigns.
Source: Kidney Education Foundation
Last Modified : 3/4/2020
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