5 Initial Signs of Kidney Problems

Updated on 18 August 2022

Kidneys are a part of the urinary tract system and are one of the most vital organs of our body. Kidneys have many crucial functions, including cleaning our blood by removing toxins, chemicals and extra fluids, regulating our blood pressure, maintaining bone health, and electrolyte balance and regulating red blood cell production. The symptoms of kidney problems are usually elusive; hence it is very important to know and recognize them before your kidneys get inflamed, inflected, damaged or are at risk of other serious problems.

Five signs that indicate the kidney-related problems

Following are the five initial signs that indicate kidney-related problems,

1. High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure or Hypertension can be a sign of kidney damage or problems. Kidneys regulate the amount of salt that is present in our blood. If they are unable to perform that function properly, the levels of salt in our bloodstream can increase, causing high blood pressure. Also, damaged kidneys can activate the production of hormones that lead to high BP.

2. Swelling (oedema)

Swelling can be an early sign of kidney damage. A decrease in kidney function can cause sodium retention or excessive fluids in our body, making it swell up.

Due to gravity initially, the swelling appears in the legs after prolonged standing or after a day's work but facial swelling (puffiness of face) can be seen mostly after waking up from sleep or when severe.

3. Presence of Blood and Protein in Urine

A change in the appearance of urine is one of the most common and early signs of kidney problems. Healthy kidneys do not filter out blood cells with toxins. So, the presence of brown or red pigments (indicating blood) in your urine can be a marker of Kidney Disease, Kidney Stones, infections or cysts. Excessive bubbles in your urine are a marker of protein present in it, indicative of the fact that kidneys are “leaking” protein and hence not functioning properly.

4. Dry and Itchy Skin

Out of the many functions that kidneys perform, they also maintain a correct balance of minerals and nutrients in our bodies. Damaged kidneys may fail to do so, leading to mineral changes in blood and may cause the skin to be dry and itchy.

5. Muscle Cramps

Kidney-related problems can cause electrolyte imbalances in our bodies. Such imbalances, for instance, low levels of calcium and phosphorous, can lead to muscle cramping and pains.

Besides the above, if you notice any unusual and consistent symptoms like lethargy, weakness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, increased frequency in urination or difficulty in sleeping please consult your doctor as they may be early signs of onsetting kidney issues. The most important thing is to remember that most kidney ailments may not cause any symptoms till they become significant, therefore including a basic investigation for kidneys (Blood pressure measurement, Urine examination and evaluation of creatinine and electrolytes) in your annual medical examination is advisable.






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