Kidney disease is a condition that can affect men and women of all ages, although it is most common in individuals over the age of 60 who suffer from diabetes or hypertension. Individuals with chronic kidney disease typically exhibit a number of telling physical symptoms, such as trouble urinating and lower back pain. Many people experience fatigue, nausea, and problems with sleeping and concentration. An individual who experiences any symptoms of kidney disease should seek medical attention right away. A doctor can conduct a proper diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate long-term treatment plan.
Chronic kidney disease develops gradually over time, and the earliest symptoms can be difficult to identify. The early symptoms of kidney disease include changes in urination patterns, tiredness, and moderate swelling around the feet and ankles. People in the first stages of kidney disease may find themselves urinating more often than normal, especially during nighttime hours. They may feel fatigued and unable to maintain a regular sleeping schedule.
As kidney disease progresses, symptoms tend to become more noticeable. Individuals begin to experience significant discomfort when urinating, if they are able to urinate at all, and urine may appear very dark or bloody. The kidneys become less effective at removing excess water from the body and expelling it as waste. The result is significant swelling in the lower extremities and eyes, where tissue becomes overly saturated with the excess fluid.
Symptoms that appear shortly before kidney failure include extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anemia, itchy skin, and shortness of breath. Many people have trouble concentrating on tasks and may become disoriented and dizzy during activity. Muscle cramps, pain in the lower back, fragile bones, and headaches are very common later stage symptoms. Left untreated, the kidneys can completely shut down, causing irreversible damage to other internal organs and often resulting in death.
A person should consult a doctor as soon as he or she notices any symptoms of kidney disease. The earlier kidney problems are detected, the better chance the individual has at successfully managing them. A kidney doctor, known as a nephrologist, can perform physical examinations as well as blood and urine tests to determine the nature of a disorder and decide on the best treatment options. The doctor might prescribe hormone supplements that help prevent anemia from getting worse. A person close to experiencing total kidney failure may have to undergo dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.