Kidney Health: 10 Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

Learn the warning signs of kidney problems and the practical steps you can take to keep your kidneys functioning at their best.

Dr. Madan Kumar
By Dr. Madan Kumar - Dermatologist & Hair Transplant Surgeon at Vtiara Clinic
5 Min Read

Our kidneys work tirelessly behind the scenes, filtering waste and toxins from our blood to maintain overall health. But when they aren’t functioning optimally, the consequences can be serious. Sadly, millions of people suffer from kidney disease, many without even realizing it.

By understanding early warning signs and taking proactive steps, you can protect these vital organs and optimize your well-being. Let’s look at the red flags your kidneys may be sending up and find out simple but powerful ways to keep them in better shape.

10 signs your kidneys may need help

  • Fatigue: A buildup of toxins in the blood due to poor kidney function can make you feel tired, weak, dizzy, and unable to concentrate. Healthy kidneys also produce a hormone that helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.
  • Feeling cold: Kidney disease can contribute to anemia, which can cause persistent cold even when others feel a comfortable temperature. Consider kidney problems if you experience unexplained, persistent coldness.
  • Difficulty breathing: Due to poor kidney function, fluid can accumulate in the lungs, causing shortness of breath. This may also include anemia, where a reduced ability to carry oxygen makes normal activities difficult.
  • Dry and Itchy Skin: The kidneys help maintain a healthy mineral balance. Impaired kidney function due to mineral imbalance can cause dry, itchy skin. Unexplained coldness can also occur when your kidneys fail to filter out toxins completely, causing them to build up in your body.
  • Swelling of ankles, feet, or hands: Kidney failure can cause fluid to build up in the body, leading to swelling in the lower extremities. However, swollen feet and ankles may indicate other health problems, so it is important to consult your doctor.
  • Swelling around the eyes: When damaged kidneys allow protein to leak into the urine, you may experience swelling around your eyes due to fluid buildup.
  • Bad breath and metallic taste: A buildup of toxins in the blood (uremia) can cause bad breath, a metallic taste in the mouth, and loss of appetite.
  • Changes in urination: Changes in urination habits, such as frequent urination, pain or burning during urination, or less urination, may indicate kidney problems.
  • Foamy or bloody urine: Blood in the urine (hematuria) may indicate kidney infection, tumors, stones, or kidney failure. Foamy urine, which looks like scrambled eggs, indicates excessive protein and should be checked by a doctor.
  • Trouble sleeping: Kidney failure hinders the filtration of toxins from the blood, making it difficult to get quality rest. It can also cause sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep.

How to keep your kidneys healthy

  • Stay hydrated: Proper hydration, usually 4-6 glasses of water per day, is important for kidney function.
  • Use medication with caution: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen can cause kidney damage with long-term use.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle: Regular exercise promotes healthy blood pressure, which is important for kidney health.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet can help prevent health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, which can damage the kidneys over time.
  • Take antibiotics only when necessary: Antibiotics can stress the kidneys, so use them only when prescribed and directed by a doctor.
  • Manage blood sugar: Uncontrolled diabetes can damage the kidneys over time.
  • Avoid excessive supplements: Your kidneys filter waste from supplements, so moderation is key. Discuss the use of supplements with your doctor.
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption increases blood pressure, which damages the kidneys in the long run.
  • Regular kidney tests (if you’re at risk): People who are over 60, have low birth weight, or have heart disease or high blood pressure should have regular kidney function tests.

Listen to your body and take these warning signs seriously. By adopting healthy habits and working with your doctor, you can protect these vital organs and optimize your overall health for the long term.

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By Dr. Madan Kumar Dermatologist & Hair Transplant Surgeon at Vtiara Clinic
Dr. Madan Kumar is a highly experienced dermatologist and cosmetologist with over 13 years of practice. Holding degrees in MBBS and DDVL, he specializes in skin and hair care, offering expert advice on dermatological treatments and cosmetic procedures.

Driven by a passion for promoting healthy living, he frequently writes about topics such as nutrition, superfoods, and dermatological advancements. Through his insightful articles, Dr. Madan Kumar aims to educate and empower individuals to achieve optimal skin and hair health.
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