Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is a serious condition that can have devastating effects on an individual’s health and life. It's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so you can recognize them early in yourself or someone else, allowing for timely diagnosis and treatment.

What is a kidney failure diet? This article will discuss what kidney failure is, as well as its causes, signs, and symptoms. Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to filter waste from the blood efficiently.

Without proper filtering, toxins build up in the body resulting in various health complications that can cause long-term damage and even death if left untreated.

Doctor holding anatomical model of kidney.

Kidney failure can happen gradually over time, or can happen all of a sudden. In the very beginning stages of kidney failure, one might not have any symptoms at all. You can learn more about the renal diet restrictions by stage of CKD.

As kidney function decreases, however, the signs and symptoms of kidney failure become more and more prominent. It is important for everyone to know the symptoms and warning signs. Here are a few tips on how avoid kidney failure with dietary changes.

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What Is Kidney Failure?

Kidney failure, also known as end-stage kidney failure (how to avoid end stage renal disease), end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or late-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD), is a serious medical condition in which the kidneys are no longer able to function properly. At this point, 85-90% of your kidney function is lost

It’s important for those with this life-threatening illness to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with it so that they can start appropriate treatment before more severe complications arise.

Common symptoms include fatigue, swelling of hands and feet due to fluid retention, decreased urine output, and changes in appetite. In advanced stages of ESRD, patients may experience cardiac complications such as high blood pressure and anemia.

Treatment options vary depending on severity but typically involve some form of renal replacement therapy like dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Those living with ESRD should have regular checkups and adhere to their doctor's recommended renal diet, which emphasizes eating healthy foods low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus while avoiding highly processed meats and junk food.

Additionally, most health care professionals recommend taking supplements specifically designed for people with CKD or ESRD to ensure proper nutrition despite dietary limitations.

Living with kidney failure can be challenging but there are many resources available including support groups, online forums, educational materials from organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation and even government programs providing financial assistance for treatments not covered by insurance.

With knowledge about the signs and symptoms of kidney failure along with access to specialized treatments via healthcare providers knowledgeable about ESRD management strategies, individuals suffering from this debilitating condition can lead full lives free from worry about their long-term prognosis.

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One sign of kidney damage is proteinuria. It is the presence of protein in urine. It can be a sign that your kidneys are damaged, allowing protein to leak through its filters.

Causes Of Proteinuria

When it comes to kidney health, proteinuria is an important indicator. Proteinuria occurs when a person has too much protein in their urine and can be caused by a number of different conditions.

One common cause of proteinuria is usually due to damage that has been done within the glomeruli - which are tiny filters inside each one of our kidneys. When these become damaged from trauma or disease, they can leak out excess amounts of proteins like albumin into our urine.

This type of damage may occur with diseases such as diabetes mellitus or lupus nephritis. High blood pressure also plays a role as uncontrolled hypertension will increase pressures on these delicate structures leading to further leakage over time.

Nephrotic syndrome is also one cause of proteinuria that may stem from many different pathological aberrations within the kidneys.

In some cases, certain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also induce proteinuria in patients who are already at risk for developing other types of kidney damage.

It's important for those suffering from chronic illnesses and taking multiple medications to speak with their doctor about any potential risks associated with their therapy so that timely interventions can be implemented if necessary.

Such as making changes in diet, starting a hypertension management program or beginning preventive strategies against future stones formation.

Doctor examining kidney of patient with ultrasound scan in clinic

Diagnosis Of Proteinuria

Diagnosis of proteinuria is an important step in understanding the cause and managing treatment. It begins with a physical examination, including blood pressure measurements.

Medical history is also taken. When you have proteinuria, you may also notice that you have bubbly or foamy urine, nausea, frequent urination, and swelling. In some cases, even bloody urine may be seen as an indicator of proteinuria. These symptoms should prompt you to consult your doctor for further evaluation.

A urine test for elevated creatinine and proteins such as albumin present in the urine may be ordered by your physician. If necessary, further testing might include renal imaging or a renal biopsy to get more information about any underlying kidney damage.

The good news is that you don’t have to go through this alone; there are experts like kidney specialists out there who specialize in treating conditions like proteinuria and their underlying causes. It pays to seek treatment immediately so these specialists can work with you to manage your condition long-term.

Aside from giving the right medications, they can also help you make lifestyle changes such as diet modifications or developing an exercise program that caters specifically to your needs.

It’s no secret that proper diagnosis and management goes hand-in-hand with better outcomes - so having a supportive health care team around you makes all the difference!


Swelling is a common symptom of kidney failure and can be caused by a number of things, such as poor circulation, fluid retention, and a build-up of substances like sodium in the body. Treatment for swelling depends on the underlying cause.

It's important to consult with a doctor to determine what causes the swelling, as well as the best course of treatment. When swelling is present, seeking medical help right away can help to reduce the progression of kidney failure.

Causes Of Swelling

When it comes to signs and symptoms of kidney failure, swelling is one of the most common. High salt intake, reduced urination, fluid retention, high blood pressure, and even urinary tract obstruction can all lead to this uncomfortable symptom. So what's causing your body to swell? Let's take a closer look at some of the causes.

One major cause of swelling is an increase in your salt intake. This can happen if you eat too many salty foods or when there are changes in how much sodium is absorbed by your kidneys.

Furthermore, if your body isn't producing enough urine for whatever reason - such as dehydration, blockage in the urinary tract or certain medications - then fluids may accumulate in the tissues which leads to swelling.

High blood pressure can also contribute to swelling due to increased pressure on vessels near the skin surface. As a result, these vessels become less able to keep fluids from leaking out into surrounding tissue spaces resulting in edema (swelling).

To reduce any potential risks associated with swollen limbs and other areas of the body related to kidney failure, it is important to consult with your doctor immediately.

Treatment For Swelling

When it comes to treatment for swelling, there are different options.

Dietary changes can help reduce the amount of salt in your diet, which in turn may improve symptoms and reduce overall swelling. Adjusting fluid intake can also be beneficial; however, you should speak with a healthcare professional first as too much liquid could cause further complications.

Additionally, medications such as diuretics may be prescribed to promote urination and prevent water retention. Blood tests may also be used to check electrolyte levels and determine if any underlying medical conditions need to be addressed.

Therefore, finding the right balance between all these interventions is key when managing swollen limbs due to kidney failure. All of this combined can give you an improved quality of life that allows you to get back on track and focus on being healthy.

Changes In Urination

I'm sure we've all experienced increased frequency in urination at some point in our lives, but if you're noticing it happening more frequently it could be a sign of kidney failure.

Decreased output is also a symptom, so if you're hardly producing any urine, it's time to take a trip to the doctor. Check out these progression of symptoms for CKD.

Discoloration is another sign of kidney failure, so be sure to keep an eye out for any changes in the color of your urine.

These changes in urination are all signs that something is wrong, so if you're noticing any of them, it's important to take action right away.

Increased Urine Frequency

One of the most common signs and symptoms of kidney failure is changes in urination. Individuals may experience high urine output, increased thirst, pain while urinating, dark-colored urine or cloudy urine.

An increase in frequency of urination or polyuria can be an especially concerning sign for those with suspected kidney failure. You may find yourself needing to use the restroom more often than usual or feeling like you have to go constantly throughout the day.

Additionally, your body will require more water intake due to feeling thirsty all the time so it's important that you stay hydrated at all times. Dehydration can lead to further complications if not addressed quickly as well as add strain on your kidneys.

As such, it's vital that individuals experiencing these signs seek medical attention right away to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan put into place.

Decreased Urine Output

When it comes to changes in urination, decreased urine output (oliguria) is another common sign of kidney failure. This can be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, dehydration, or any other condition that can damage the kidney to the point that it is unable to produce urine and eliminate wastes.

Additionally, urinary tract infections and heart complications can also contribute to a reduced urine output as well as other issues like constipation or not drinking enough water throughout the day.

It's important for individuals who are experiencing this symptom to seek medical attention right away so they can get diagnosed and treated appropriately before any further damage is done.

Urine Discoloration

When it comes to changes in urination, discoloration is another sign someone may be experiencing kidney failure. A common symptom of this condition is when the skin darkens due to decreased urine volume and increased concentration of waste products in the urine.

Reddish discoloration may also indicate blood in the urine or hematuria, which can be a sign of kidney diseases like glomerulonephritis.

Along with darker urine, an individual kidney failure may also experience a reduced appetite, numbness in extremities, fever and chills, confusion and disorientation.

How does kidney failure affect the body? All of these symptoms should not be taken lightly as they could indicate something much more serious than just dehydration or an infection; it can be signs of kidney failure.


Fatigue is a common symptom of kidney failure. It can be caused by anemia, electrolyte imbalances, and other health issues related to kidney failure.

To evaluate fatigue, your doctor will likely ask about your medical history and do a physical exam. They may also order blood tests and other tests to help them make a diagnosis.

Treatment for fatigue related to kidney failure can include eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest, and doing light exercise.

Medications may also be prescribed to help manage anemia and electrolyte imbalances. In some cases, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary to improve fatigue symptoms. You may also need chronic kidney disease laboratory tests completed.

Causes Of Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of kidney failure, and it can have multifactorial causes. One of the primary culprits behind fatigue in those with kidney issues is decreased appetite. Poor dietary intake can lead to low energy levels, leading to an overall feeling of exhaustion and fatigue.

Anemia is a common complication of kidney disease and can be a major cause of fatigue in people with advanced kidney disease.

Anemia occurs because the kidneys are not able to produce enough of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which is needed to stimulate the body to produce red blood cells. Without enough red blood cells, the body does not have enough oxygen to work properly.

The fatigue associated with anemia in kidney disease patients can be quite severe. People with anemia may feel tired all the time, even after a full night's sleep. They may have difficulty concentrating, lack energy, and have difficulty completing everyday tasks.

Another cause may be increased thirst due to the reduced ability of failing kidneys to regulate body fluids. Sleep disturbances are also often reported by people suffering from kidney problems, which could contribute to feelings of tiredness during the day.

As the kidneys fail, waste products also accumulate in the body, which these organs are unable to eliminate. This can also be a cause of fatigue.

With proper care and attention, however, managing fatigue caused by kidney failure can be possible, so don’t ignore this common symptom.

Evaluating Fatigue

When it comes to evaluating fatigue, there are a few common signs and symptoms to look out for. If someone is experiencing heart palpitations, high blood pressure, chest pain, or dark urine, this could be an indication of kidney failure.

By speaking with a physician, further tests can be ordered depending on the presence of other symptoms to fully elucidate what causes your fatigue.

It's important to take all of these symptoms seriously and consult with your doctor if any arise in order to get the proper treatment needed.

Early detection and diagnosis is key when it comes to managing fatigue caused by kidney failure – so don't wait too long before getting yourself checked.

Treating Fatigue

Now that we've discussed the signs and symptoms of fatigue related to renal issues, let's look at how to treat it. Managing exhaustion can be a long-term process that requires understanding exhaustion, making dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments, as well addressing the underlying kidney failure.

It is important to identify your triggers for feeling tired and develop coping strategies tailored to you. This may include getting more sleep or cutting down on caffeine intake. Does caffeine hurt your kidneys?

Making these small changes can have a big impact in terms of managing fatigue caused by kidney failure and restoring your energy levels back to normal.

Moreover, by managing other systemic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, it is possible to lessen fatigue symptoms and help you feel healthier.

There are treatments available to manage anemia in people with kidney disease. In some cases, EPO injections can be used to help stimulate the body to produce red blood cells.

In other cases, iron supplements may be prescribed to help the body produce more red blood cells. In some cases, blood transfusions may be necessary to help replenish red blood cells.

Additionally, seeking out support from loved ones or professional help can also go a long way towards helping manage this symptom effectively. With proper treatment, those suffering from extreme tiredness due to kidney disease will be able to reduce their fatigue and get back to living life as usual!

Skin Changes

Chronic kidney failure affects the whole body, including the skin. Patients with renal failure may experience skin dryness, itching, blistering, rashes, color changes, and nail changes.

Types Of Skin Changes in Renal Disease

Skin changes can be extremely bothersome, and often signal underlying health problems like chronic kidney disease.

Skin rashes associated with kidney failure may present as itchy patches. These red or pale spots may appear anywhere on the body and can cause intense itching.

In addition, those with kidney failure may experience dry or flaky skin that appears scaly or even leathery in texture. Dark circles under the eyes, as well as itchy eyes are also signs of dehydration which is a common symptom of kidney failure.

Another warning sign is color changes in the skin. Pale skin often occurs due to anemia caused by decreased amounts of oxygen-carrying red blood cell production – another side effect of impaired renal function. Others may have grayish or yellowish hue due to buildup of toxins.

All these indications should not go ignored and prompt medical attention should be sought if they persist for more than several days. It's important to identify these signs early so that proper treatments can be put into place before any further damage is done to your kidneys.

Treatments For Skin Changes

Now that we know the signs and symptoms of skin manifestations caused by kidney failure, let's talk about treatments.

Fortunately, there are several options available for treating skin rashes naturally. Following your prescribed renal diet strictly can help manage symptoms and reduce itch. Take a look at this sample 7 day renal diet meal plan.

Additionally, symptom management through lifestyle adjustments like getting enough rest and reducing stress levels may be beneficial in alleviating symptoms associated with skin rash.

Moisturizing is also important in preventing dry skin and managing itchy skin. Ultimately, addressing the underlying kidney failure gives you the best chance of optimal management. It is also best to consult your nephrologist (kidney doctor) and dermatologist (skin doctor) to better optimize your treatment.

With these methods combined, you will have a greater chance of eliminating CKD-related skin lesions. Ultimately, it is important to keep up with regular check-ups so that any underlying issues can be identified before they develop into something more serious.

Shortness Of Breath

Shortness of breath can be a sign of kidney failure due to buildup of fluids in the lungs. It can be exacerbated by high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain medications.

Diagnosis typically involves physical examination, blood tests, and imaging tests. Treatment for kidney failure can involve lifestyle changes, medications, dialysis, or a kidney transplant.

Risk factors for kidney failure include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and a family history of kidney disease.

Causes Of Shortness Of Breath

Shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is a common symptom associated with kidney failure. It can be caused by several conditions that affect the kidneys and other organs in the body.

High blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, overuse of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), dehydration, and urinary tract infections are all potential causes of kidney failure that can lead to shortness of breath.

When the kidneys fail to remove excess fluid, it places extra strain on the heart which results in high blood pressure. Excess fluid unable to be pumped by the heart can flood the lungs, resulting in dyspnea. Follow these fluid guidelines.

Often, shortness of breath is already a late symptom of renal failure, so immediate consultation is crucial.

Evaluating Shortness Of Breath

If you are experiencing shortness of breath, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely begin with a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and health history. They may also order certain tests to help diagnose the underlying cause of your dyspnea.

These tests can reveal abnormal blood tests such as an elevated creatinine level or reduced glomerular filtration rate. Through these tests, they can diagnose any underlying conditions that may be causing your shortness of breath related to kidney failure.

Once they have identified the cause of your difficulty breathing, they can determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you which could range from lifestyle modifications like reducing salt intake or regular exercise routines to medications such as diuretics or ACE inhibitors in order to regulate levels of fluid retention and reduce high blood pressure respectively.

In some cases, additional treatments such as dialysis, surgery, or even transplantation might become necessary if other methods fail to achieve desired results.

It is important to discuss all available options with your healthcare team so that together you can decide on the best course of action for restoring proper functioning within your body and alleviating symptoms associated with renal disorders, including dyspnea.

Young vomiting woman near sink in bathroom

Nausea And Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can be symptoms of kidney failure, so it's important to understand the causes, treatments, and potential complications.

Treatment usually involves managing the underlying cause, and may include taking anti-nausea medications. Complications can include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and loss of appetite.

If the nausea and vomiting persist or worsen, it's important to see a doctor for further evaluation.

Causes Of Nausea And Vomiting

Many people experience nausea and vomiting, but when it comes to kidney failure, these symptoms can be more severe.

Anorexia, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, buildup of uremic toxins, medications, high blood pressure, and low blood pressure are all causes of the uncomfortable feeling associated with nausea and vomiting. You can use these grilling blood pressure to get more ideas for food!

Nausea can be uncomfortable and may affect appetite and nutrition. As such, proper medical care should be sought out before further complications arise

Treatment For Nausea And Vomiting

Thankfully, there are treatments available for nausea and vomiting related to kidney failure.

These involve treating dehydration by drinking more fluids, reducing electrolyte levels, managing pain with medication, avoiding stress as much as possible, and eating healthily.

If needed, anti-emetics and anti-nausea medications may also be prescribed by your doctor. You may be in a position where you say "my doctor prescribed a renal diet."

Complications Of Nausea And Vomiting

Unfortunately, the complications of nausea and vomiting associated with kidney failure can be serious. When left untreated for too long, it can cause decreased appetite, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, fever, and abdominal pain.

To make sure that this doesn't happen it's important to take steps like keeping up-to-date on all medical appointments and following any advice given by healthcare professionals closely.

This will help ensure that symptoms are being treated in a timely manner. With proper care, these symptoms can be successfully managed and relief brought back into your life. Learning how to manage chronic kidney disease is something you will learn to do.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps can be a sign of kidney failure. These painful contractions usually occur in the calves, feet, and thighs due to decreased circulation or electrolyte imbalance.

Additionally, people with failing kidneys may experience pain that originates from their lower back or side; this is known as kidney pain.

Here are some signs that could point to muscle cramping being caused by kidney failure:

  • Dark urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Electrolyte imbalance

Abnormal heart rhythm can also be associated with muscle cramps, especially when accompanied by electrolyte imbalance. Potassium is a mineral that helps to regulate heart beat. Here are more tips for heart healthy lifestyle changes for CKD.

When the kidneys fail, they are not able to filter and flush out excess potassium. High potassium levels can cause abnormal heart rhythms, and even heart attack that can lead to sudden death.

You might find yourself doing a low potassium diet for kidney disease. It's important for those experiencing any of these symptoms to consult a medical professional so they can get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to them.

FAQs for Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Failure

How Can I Prevent Kidney Failure?

Preventing kidney failure is a key step for protecting one's health, and it starts with taking proactive measures. An important thing to do is exercise regularly - this can help reduce the stress of everyday life and keep blood pressure in check.

Additionally, reducing sodium and protein intake has been shown to be beneficial in avoiding chronic kidney disease; by tracking your diet you can make sure that you are getting all the nutrients you need without overdoing it on these two components.

Keeping yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily can also help protect your kidneys. And there are plenty of kidney friendly drinks you can enjoy!

In short, staying ahead of the game when it comes to your kidneys means being vigilant about managing stress, exercising regularly, checking your blood pressure often, and keeping an eye on your dietary habits.

All in all, small steps taken today can go a long way towards preventing future problems down the road.

Are There Different Types Of Kidney Failure?

In general, kidney failure can be categorized into Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). In AKI, there is a sudden loss of kidney function usually incited by illness, injury, or medications.

This is often reversible. On the other hand, CKD is the gradual permanent loss of renal function over time, usually caused by diseases like hypertension, diabetes (renal diabetic diet), glomerulonephritis, or polycystic kidney disease.

What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Kidney Failure?

The long-term effects of kidney failure can be serious and life-altering. Patients will likely develop cardiovascular complications due to altered electrolytes and fluid balance in the body.

Patients may also need maintenance dialysis options as well as lifestyle changes such as a strict change in diet. You may even need to follow a kidney dialysis diet meal plan.

Furthermore, renal failure has been known to have negative impacts on mental health; psychological issues like depression and anxiety are very common among those with advanced stages of kidney disease.

While these effects may sound daunting, there are treatments available for managing kidney failure that allow patients to live fulfilling lives despite the condition.

Are There Any Dietary Restrictions For People With Kidney Failure?

People with kidney failure must follow a renal diet. You may be advised to reduce processed foods, limit salt consumption, and monitor fluid intake closely.

You may also have to pay attention to the mineral balance of his diet by carefully selecting dietary sources that were high in potassium while keeping an eye on sodium levels. Need low sodium potluck dishes ideas?

With a little bit of extra effort, you can learn how to maintain good health even with this condition; all thanks to learning about the specific dietary restrictions for people with kidney failure, guided by a doctor or dietitian.

What Medications Can Help Treat Kidney Failure?

When it comes to treating kidney failure, there are a variety of medications that can help. Most people need blood pressure medications, phosphate binders, and mineral supplements.

However, it’s important to discuss your medication regimen with your physician, as different people will have varying needs. There are various commonly prescribed medications for CKD.

When taking any medication for kidney failure, be sure to monitor side effects closely as these could indicate worsening health or negative reactions to drugs. When in doubt, always approach your nephrologist so you can be guided better.

Consult A Doctor If You Have CKD Symptoms

Every organ in your body relies on your kidneys to filter and flush out excess fluid, waste, and other potential toxins.

When they aren't working properly, your body suffers and the signs tell all. These, and more, are all dangerous common signs of kidney failure.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if you have a history of kidney problems, call your doctor immediately.

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