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14 Clear Signs That Your Kidneys Aren’t Working Properly

By Francis Alpin, 25 April

From the time we awake till the time we go to bed, we are constantly engaging in different kinds of activity. This means we are using our mental as well as physical capabilities on a daily basis and this busy life often makes us neglect certain signals that our body gives us. These signals can have serious consequences if we do not respond to them on time. Many of them can be dysfunctional symptoms sent from any organ of your body such as your kidneys. On this note, here are 14 signals your body sends you when your kidneys aren’t functioning properly

1 You may have trouble sleeping

Toxins are discharged from our bodies via the urine excreted from the kidneys. However, if the kidneys are not functioning like usual then the toxins remain within the body contaminating the bloodstream. High levels of these toxins can affect your sleep resulting in sleeping problems like insomnia where we find it hard to fall off to sleep. Also, getting less sleep can cause kidney function decline.

 trouble sleeping

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2Sleep Apnea

Chronic Kidney Disease can lead to ‘Sleep Apnea’ which is a disorder that causes one or more pauses in your breathing while you sleep. This can affect quality of life and when it happens, you should see a doctor immediately. 

Sleep Apnea

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3General fatigue, headaches and weaknesses

The kidneys perform a vital function of converting vitamin D to produce Erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is a hormone that is necessary in the production of red blood cells. EPO production is decreased when the kidneys aren’t 100% functional and this causes decline in the amount of red blood cells being produced. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to all parts of the body. When fewer red blood cells are produced, less oxygen is transported to all parts of the body, which in turn causes rapid muscle and brain fatigue. 

General fatigue

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4You can get Anaemia

Anemia can be developed by those suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease especially in cases of 20-50% of kidney function. The signs of anemia are also fatigue, pallor, white spots on face, and tiredness in spite of sleeping. 

You can get Anaemia

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5Itchy and dry skin

Waste removal and excessive fluid from the blood is removed from the body by healthy functioning kidneys. This increases production of the red blood cells and contributes to the maintenance of mineral and nutrient content within the body.When the kidneys fail to maintain this balance of mineral and nutrient content it causes itchiness and dry skin. These signals if ignored may further develop into kidney and bone disease. This can be easily prevented by keeping yourself well hydrated. Do not take medication without consulting your doctor. 

Itchy and dry skin

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6Bad breath and metallic taste

If the kidneys are not functioning properly, waste tends to pile up in the body which changes the way food tastes by leaving a metallic taste in your mouth whenever you eat. Bad Breath is another sure sign of toxin accumulation and contamination within the bloodstream due to improper functioning of the kidneys. This also causes you to eat less thereby leading to excessive weight loss, which is seemingly unhealthy. However, a metallic taste after eating can be due to other causes. But, if it doesn’t go away after treatment, consult your doctor. 

Bad breath and metallic taste

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7Experiencing shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is also a symptom of kidney disease. This is due to excess fluid, from the body, flowing into the lungs when the kidneys are not functioning normally. Another factor could be because of anemia wherein the oxygen is not transported properly by the red blood cells owing to kidney disease.

Experiencing shortness of breath

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8Swelling in Ankles, Feet and Hands

While feet swelling could also be due to sedentary lifestyle or sitting too long all day it can also be due to kidney dysfunction. Failure of the kidneys to remove the extra unwanted fluids from the body causes sodium retention which can make your ankles, hands or feet swell. But swelling in the lower parts of your body can possibly be due to leg vein problems, liver or even heart disease. 

Swelling in Ankles

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9Back Pain

Back pain and even leg pain can be caused by kidney cysts (big fluid-filled sac formations on the kidneys) which result from polycystic kidney disease or simply the kidney not properly discharging the toxins from the body. The pain usually stems from beneath the rib cage and can also be felt in the hip and groin area. 

Back Pain

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Tip

You can also experience a sick feeling along with, fever; frequent urination and vomiting also accompany back pain due to kidney failure. Don’t resort to continued consumption of pain killers, instead see your doctor. 

frequent vomiting

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10Puffy Eyes

Puffiness near and around the eye area is the result of a weakened kidney filtration system. The weakened kidney filtration system allows protein to leak into the urine instead of being retained and distributed throughout the body. Thus, the discharge of large amounts of protein through the urine is what causes the puffiness. So if you get enough rest and protein and still getting puffy eyes, then see a doctor because one of the symptoms of kidney disease is excess protein levels of globulin in the blood found when you take a kidney function test

Puffy Eyes

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11High Blood Pressure

There is a huge interdependence between the excretory system and the circulatory system. The kidneys consist of small nephrons whose function is to filter the excess fluids and waste from the blood. In case the blood vessels get damaged, oxygen and nutrients are then not distributed to the nephrons which can lead to kidney failure along with high blood pressure, since the nephrons won’t be able to perform its function. 

High Blood Pressure

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12Changes in Urination

Urine is produced within the kidneys and is tasked with waste elimination from the body through the process of urination. If the color, odor or even the frequency and appearance of urine should change then there is cause to be alarmed. Immediately consult your doctor who will prescribe a urine test as well as a kidney function test. Excessive urges of urinating at night is also a sign of kidney problems. If at night you find the need to frequently urinate then there is signs that your kidneys are not functioning properly. The normal frequency rate would be between 4-10 times in a day. 

Changes in Urination

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13Excessive Foamy Urine or Proteinuria

Too much foam in the urine is a sign of proteinuria which means excess protein in urine due to dysfunctional kidneys. Now and then foamy urine is normal due to pressure of urine and other factors but consistent foam in the urine warrants an immediate trip to the doctor and a kidney function test. The presence of foam or bubbles in the urine which makes you keep flushing till they disappear implies that unwanted protein is being discharged from your body. 

Excessive Foamy Urine or Proteinuria

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14Presence of blood in the urine

Since, the kidneys are concerned with filtering waste from the blood; if blood is seen in the urine then there is a clear indication that the kidneys have been damaged as this is a sign of Hematuria. However don’t jump to conclusions as yet. There could be other causes too which at first your doctor will not rule out. You could be having a severe UTI infection. That is why always consult a doctor immediately when such things are observed without waiting for it to go away on its own. 

Presence of blood in the urine

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