According to the CDC, about 96% of people with kidney disease are not aware of their condition. This is because many people don’t know the symptoms and mild kidney damage does not halt kidney functions so it can go unidentified. Kidneys, however, play an essential role in the body and their failure or breakdown can lead to severe consequences which may be fatal if not properly managed.
Kidney disease is one of the health challenges seniors face as the likelihood of the disease increases with age. Fortunately, there are identifiable signs of kidney damage if you know what they are. First, let’s look at the risk factors for kidney disease:
Factors that Increase Your Risk of Kidney Disease
Anyone can develop kidney disease, but some conditions increase your chance of developing kidney damage.
About 29 million people living with diabetes in the US are at a higher risk of kidney failure. Kidney disease is often a secondary effect of other health conditions of which diabetes is a major cause. If diabetes is not managed, its complications gradually damage and ultimately reduce kidney functions.
Your risk of kidney disease increases if you have a heart condition. If you have high blood pressure, your kidneys will be overworking to restore balance which may lead to gradual damage.
Seniors are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease. Like other organs, the kidneys gradually lose their functionality as a natural part of the aging process. You should discuss the option of regular testing with your doctor.
Some autoimmune diseases such as Lupus predispose a person to kidney failure. Other risk factors for kidney disease include obesity and family history.
What are the Symptoms of Kidney Disease?
Unexplained Fatigue and Confusion
If you feel tired all the time, it may be as a result of a buildup of toxins in the blood due to a failing kidney. The result of this weakness may also make it difficult to concentrate while working. If you notice you are feeling more tired than usual, talk to your doctor to determine if you need any further screening.
If you are unable to enjoy restful sleep, this could also be a symptom of kidney disease. When the kidney’s filtration system is impaired, waste products of metabolism are left to float around the body. Some of these may become toxic and interfere with the sleep process. There are many reasons for sleeplessness, so it is best to consult with your doctor.
An unusual and frequent urge to urinate, especially at night, may be a sign of kidney dysfunction. Even though other conditions may be responsible for frequent urination, it should be promptly investigated to rule out a serious health problem.
Blood in Urine
Your kidney regulates what is removed or retained in the body via urine. When functioning normally, the right amount of minerals and cells are removed as waste. An impaired kidney filtration system allows blood cells to pass through which appears as bloody urine.
Puffy Eyes and Foamy Urine
A weak kidney allows protein that should have been retained in the body to leak into the urine. Excessive excretion of protein leads to swollen eyes. Also, protein in the urine causes persistent foaming and should be a cause for alarm.
Swollen Ankles and Feet
A failing kidney retains more sodium than the body needs. Excess minerals are then deposited in the extremities where they cause swelling in the ankles and feet by retaining excess fluid.
Poor Appetite and Muscle Cramping
Electrolyte imbalance, especially calcium and phosphorous, resulting from kidney disease can lead to muscle cramps. This imbalance may also reduce appetite. If you have regular muscle pain without exerting your muscles, it may be a sign of failing kidney.
Maintaining a healthy kidney is essential for your wellbeing. Advanced stages of kidney disease are often unmanageable, so you should be on the lookout for its early signs.
The symptoms discussed above are possible signs of kidney disease which should be investigated further by your doctor if they appear. Share this information with your loved ones so they can also keep an eye on their kidneys’ health.