13 Common Signs of Kidney Disease

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Kidney disease is a silent threat that often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Our kidneys play a vital role in filtering waste and excess fluids from the blood, maintaining overall body balance. Recognizing the signs of kidney disease early can prevent further damage and improve the quality of life. Here are 13 common signs of a kidney disease you should never ignore.

1. Fatigue

Feeling tired all the time? Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of kidney disease. When your kidneys are not functioning properly, waste builds up in your blood, leading to a decrease in red blood cells and anemia. This results in less oxygen reaching your muscles and brain, causing you to feel exhausted and weak.

2. Swelling (Edema)

If you notice swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, or hands, it might be due to fluid retention caused by kidney disease. When the kidneys can’t remove extra fluid and sodium from your body, it accumulates in the tissues, leading to edema. This swelling can also occur around your eyes, especially in the morning.

3. Changes in Urination

Changes in your urination patterns can be a clear sign of kidney issues. You might notice:

  • Increased frequency, especially at night
  • Urine that is foamy or bubbly
  • Dark, cloudy, or bloody urine
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating These changes indicate that your kidneys are not filtering properly or that there might be an infection.

4. Blood in Urine

Hematuria, or blood in the urine, is a serious symptom that shouldn’t be ignored. It can be a sign of kidney disease, infections, or even kidney stones. Blood in the urine can also indicate more severe conditions like kidney or bladder cancer. Immediate medical evaluation is crucial if you notice this symptom.

5. Persistent Itching

Chronic kidney disease can lead to a build-up of waste in your blood, causing severe itching. This persistent itchiness is often felt all over the body and can be very uncomfortable. It’s usually due to high levels of phosphorus in the blood, which the kidneys can no longer filter out effectively.

6. Shortness of Breath

Experiencing shortness of breath can be related to kidney disease in two ways. First, extra fluid can build up in the lungs when the kidneys fail to remove it efficiently. Second, anemia (a shortage of oxygen-carrying red blood cells) can leave your body oxygen-starved, causing breathlessness even after minimal exertion.

7. Nausea and Vomiting

Feeling nauseous or vomiting frequently can be due to an excess build-up of toxins in the blood, which the kidneys fail to filter out. This symptom is commonly observed in the later stages of kidney disease and can significantly impact your appetite and overall health.

8. Metallic Taste in Mouth

A common complaint among those with kidney disease is a metallic taste in the mouth or ammonia breath. This happens because waste build-up in the blood (uremia) can alter your taste and cause bad breath. This symptom often leads to poor appetite and weight loss.

9. Muscle Cramps

Kidney disease can cause electrolyte imbalances, such as low calcium levels and poorly controlled phosphorus levels, leading to muscle cramps. These cramps can be painful and affect your daily activities and sleep.

10. Poor Appetite

Loss of appetite is a common symptom of kidney disease. The accumulation of waste products in the blood can affect how food tastes and make you feel less hungry. Poor appetite can lead to inadequate nutrition, making you feel even more fatigued and weak.

11. Difficulty Concentrating

Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and dizziness can be attributed to the effects of kidney disease on the brain. Anemia and the build-up of toxins can reduce oxygen flow to the brain, affecting cognitive function and leading to issues with focus and memory.

12. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is both a cause and a result of kidney disease. Damaged kidneys struggle to regulate blood pressure, which can worsen over time and lead to further kidney damage. Monitoring and managing blood pressure is crucial for kidney health.

13. Chest Pain

Chest pain can be a severe symptom associated with advanced kidney disease. It can result from fluid overload and the build-up of waste products, which can cause inflammation around the heart (pericarditis). Immediate medical attention is required if you experience chest pain.


Recognizing the signs of a kidney disease early can make a significant difference in managing the condition and preventing further damage. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical advice promptly. Regular check-ups, a healthy diet, and a proactive approach to your health can help maintain your kidney function and overall well-being. Stay informed and take action to protect your kidneys.

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