Signs of Kidney Failure
Kidney failure is one of the leading causes of death and mortality worldwide. It can be a fatal disease that often left undiagnosed until the worst manifestations set in. Also called renal failure, this kidney disease can be classified as “acute” or “chronic.” Acute renal failure can show its signs as early as within the year of its contraction, while the term chronic pertains to a more long-term disease that shows its manifestation over time.
In this article, a more generalized approach on knowing the signs of kidney failure will be presented. Since the early signs are associated with the “acute” type of renal failure, the top 5 signs of kidney failure will be the main concern.
Top 5 Signs of Kidney Failure:
This is not your ordinary lower back pain. Flank pain that is associated with kidney diseases has the characteristic tenderness unrelieved by relaxation or massage. The pain is usually felt at the back just below the rib cage. It can be elicited when a physician does his physical examination: the kidney punch – where he slightly hits the flank of the patient with his fist (both left and right sides). The pain will be felt by the patient as excruciating or almost tolerable but is somewhat located within the muscles of the back. A positive kidney punch in the physical examination, however, does not always point to kidney failure; but flank pain may be a sign of a kidney disease and that includes kidney failure. Flank pain associated with kidney failure suggests a prominent renal artery or vein occlusion.
The swelling of the lower extremities (your legs and feet) can be a sign of congestion of one or more organs, such as the kidneys. This happens usually when the kidneys start to lose its optimal function and instead of bringing the fluids out of the body, the fluids stay in the most dependent part of your body; thus, the legs and feet. The swelling known as edema is not often painful. And since it is retained fluids in the tissues of the lower extremities, when one presses on the edematous part of the leg or foot, the impression stays on the surface for a little while. This is called “pitting edema.”
Too much or too little urine:
Oliguria is the medical term for little urine excreted during urination. An individual with kidney failure may not even excrete urine at all. It should be differentiated with “difficult or painful urination” that is associated with urinary tract infection. In acute renal failure, the patient urinates little amount of urine or no urine at all. In other cases, however, a patient with acute kidney failure may urinate in large amounts.
Signs of Dehydration:
People with kidney failure usually presents with signs of dehydration such as thirst, orthostatic hypotension, dizziness, reduced skin turgor, dry mucous membranes, reduced axillary sweating and increased heart rate. The kidneys are organs that maintain electrolyte balance in the body; if they start to malfunction, electrolyte imbalances ensue and signs such as mentioned may manifest.
Abnormal Skin Changes:
The skin signs that are pathognomonic to kidney failure may suggest atheroembolization or the occlusion of vessels in the kidneys. These include:
- Livido or Livedo reticularis – or the purplish discoloration of the skin that usually involves the lower extremities.
- Subcutaneous nodules – circular masses that can be found just beneath the skin.
Be Vigilant: Signs of Kidney Failure
The things that you can do when one or more of these symptoms present are to observe, monitor and get professional advice. A single sign may be due to other diseases, which may be a lot less serious than kidney failure; thus, do not panic.
Observing one or more symptoms from the top five mentioned above can save you time and money. However, you should be very vigilant and get expert medical advice when you see that the symptoms worsen.
Acting quickly as a response to early signs and symptoms is not being paranoid. Articles about knowing the signs and symptoms of a particular disease are not aimed to scare people who read them. In fact, it is essential to remain on the lookout for these signs in order to protect not only your kidneys but your overall health as well.
Once you know you have kidney failure, you can start on the right track using an excellent resource to learn more.