Your kidneys are important. They help to remove waste products and excess fluid. Your kidneys also play a role in the production of red blood cells and some hormones, regulate salt, potassium and calcium levels in the body and control blood pressure. If you have problems with your kidneys, you need to seek medical treatment right away. Without the right treatment your kidneys can eventually fail. If you are at risk for kidney disease, you want to be aware of the early signs of kidney problems so you can see your doctor right away.
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Protein and Waste Products in Your Blood and Urine
There are simple blood and urine tests your doctor can do to help detect problems with kidney function before any symptoms even appear says the National Kidney Foundation. A urine test can show the level of protein present. If there is a higher than normal amount, it may be a signal that your kidneys are losing their ability to filter properly. Your blood can be tested for blood creatine and blood urea, which also show how well your kidneys are working. Both are waste products normally produced by the body. As with protein in the urine, a high level of creatine or urea in your blood indicates that the kidneys are not doing their job.
Feeling Generally Unwell
When the kidneys start to experience problems, waste products will begin to accumulate in the body. This means you can feel nauseous, start to vomit, develop dry and itchy skin, feel tired, have trouble concentrating and falling asleep. You may lose your appetite but start to gain weight due to fluid retention. You may urinate more frequently as your body tries to get rid of the excess fluid. According to the American Association of Kidney Patients, the difficulty with diagnosing this condition is that these symptoms may be mild and non-specific and not automatically alert you to possible problems with the kidneys. If you have risk factors for kidney disease such as having diabetes or heart disease, you need to discuss any changes in your physical health with your doctor.
High Blood Pressure
If the kidneys are no longer filtering as they should your blood pressure will start to rise. This is because your body is retaining fluid, which means your heart has to work harder to pump the fluid throughout your body. In addition, having high blood pressure can contribute towards developing kidney disease. However the National Kidney Disease Education Program warns that in most cases, you will not have any symptoms in the early stages, and this is why having blood and urine tests done is so important. In some cases, there are no symptoms until the kidneys are close to failure.