Signs & Symptoms of Kidney Disease



When kidney  disease develops over a short period of time it’s called Acute Kidney  Failure. This is usually caused by an acute 'insult' (damage) to the  kidneys. Unlike Chronic Kidney Failure, this can usually be treated and  cured. Acute kidney diseases often cause symptoms that are quite  obvious, the most prominent being:

  • blood in the urine

  • swelling of the face, feet, ankles and legs

  • new onset of high blood pressure

  • shortness of breath

The  above symptoms are more likely to occur in children because they are  more likely to suffer acute kidney diseases. However, that does not mean  adults are free of them, so if you note any combination of these  symptoms, immediately seek medical attention.

Note that other  diseases can also cause similar symptoms, but a simple urine test can  indicate if they are due to kidney diseases. For instance, the urine  test will indicate if albumin (protein) and blood are present in the  urine, as they imply the presence of kidney diseases. A blood test can  also show how well your kidneys are performing their main function of  eliminating waste products.

In contrast, many  chronic kidney diseases do not manifest clear warning signals in their  early stages. There may be loss of appetite, mild swelling in the legs,  and tiredness. It is not uncommon for these symptoms to be so mild or  non-specific that they are ignored over long periods of time.

In fact, some  people with chronic kidney disease do not have any symptoms in the  initial stages. But as kidney function declines, symptoms may include:

  • fatigue

  • frequent headaches

  • loss of appetite (anorexia)

  • sleep problems (insomnia)

  • itchy skin

  • frequent urination or urinary retention

  • nausea or vomiting

  • swelling or numbness of the hands and feet

  • darkening of the skin

  • muscle cramps