Symptoms of kidney disease can vary from person to person. Some people with kidney disease may not even feel sick, or they may not notice their symptoms.
If the kidney function fails, the waste products accumulate in the blood and the body, termed azotemia.
Very mild levels of azotaemia may produce little or no symptoms, but if the kidney failure continues then symptoms will become noticeable (if the failure is of sufficient degree to cause symptoms).
Renal failure accompanied with noticeable symptoms is termed uraemia.
Symptoms of kidney failure include:
- High levels of urea in the blood, which can result in:
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea, which may lead to dehydration
- Weight loss
- Nocturnal urination
- Foamy or bubbly urine
- More frequent urination, or in greater amounts than usual, with pale urine
- Less frequent urination, or in smaller amounts than usual, with dark coloured urine
- Blood in the urine
- Pressure, or difficulty urinating
- A build up of phosphates in the blood that diseased kidneys cannot filter out may cause:
- Bone damage
- Muscle cramps (caused by low levels of calcium which can cause hypocalcaemia)
- A build up of potassium in the blood that diseased kidneys cannot filter out (called hyperkalemia) may cause:
- Failure of kidneys to remove excess fluid may cause:
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, feet, face and/or hands
- Shortness of breath due to extra fluid on the lungs (may also be caused by anemia)
- Polycystic kidney disease, which causes large, fluid-filled cysts on the kidneys and sometimes the liver, can cause:
- Healthy kidneys produce the hormone erythropoietin which stimulates the bone marrow to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail they produce less erythropoietin resulting in fewer red blood cells being produced to replace the natural breakdown of old red blood cells. As a result the blood carries less haemoglobin, which is known as anemia. This can result in:
- Feeling tired and/or weak
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low blood pressure
- Appetite loss, a bad taste in the mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Darkening of the skin
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