More than 37 million American adults have kidney disease, and most don’t know it. “There are many symptoms of kidney disease, but sometimes people mistake it for other conditions. Also, people with kidney disease don’t show symptoms until their kidneys fail and they have a lot of protein in their urine. This is one of the reasons why only 10% of people with chronic kidney disease know they have it,” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, chief medical officer of the National Kidney Foundation.
The only way to know for sure if you have kidney disease is to get tested, but Dr. Vassalotti shares 10 signs you may have kidney disease. If you are at risk for kidney disease due to high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure, or are over 60 years old, it is important to get a kidney disease test every year. Be sure to tell your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing.
Symptoms of kidney disease
You are more tired, have less energy, or have trouble concentrating. A sharp decrease in kidney function leads to the accumulation of toxins and impurities in the blood. It makes people tired, weak, and hard to concentrate. Another complication of kidney disease is anemia, which can cause weakness and fatigue.
You have a hard time sleeping. When the kidneys don’t filter properly, toxins stay in the blood instead of leaving the body in the urine. It makes it difficult to sleep. There is also a link between obesity and chronic kidney disease, and sleep apnea is more common in people with chronic kidney disease than in the general population.
You have dry and itchy skin. Healthy kidneys perform many important functions. They help remove waste and excess fluid from your body, make red blood cells, strengthen bones, and maintain proper levels of minerals in your blood. Dry and itchy skin can be a symptom of mineral and bone disease that accompanies chronic kidney disease, when the kidneys are unable to maintain the proper balance of minerals and nutrients in the blood.
You need to urinate more often. If you need to urinate more often, especially at night, this may be a sign of kidney disease. When the kidney filter is damaged, the urge to urinate increases. Sometimes it can be a sign of a urinary tract infection or an enlarged prostate in men.
You see blood in your urine. Healthy kidneys filter waste from the blood to make urine and store blood cells in the body, but when kidney filters are damaged, these blood cells begin to “leak” into the urine. In addition to being a sign of kidney disease, blood in the urine can be a sign of a tumor, kidney stone, or infection.