The symptoms of chronic kidney disease can be pretty bothersome. When your kidneys aren't functioning as they should, this can result in several health problems, some of which may become very serious.
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However, you don't have to accept painful and sometimes ominous symptoms as part of your new normal. However, you can make some adjustments in your life to deal with these symptoms.
It's helpful to know all the symptoms you can experience in chronic kidney disease, so you'll be better prepared to take charge of your health.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
Some people experience few or minimal symptoms from chronic kidney disease during the early stages. However, early signs can be light and easily confused with other health issues since most symptoms are nonspecific.
It's important to talk to your doctor to clarify your concerns, even if you only experience a few of these symptoms.
Nausea and Fatigue
Increased nausea is a common symptom of kidney issues, as is vomiting. You may experience full-body discomforts such as muscle cramps or spasms, and you're likely to feel more tired than usual.
If these symptoms don't have a clear cause, it doesn't always mean kidney disease, but it's a good idea to seek medical attention from a professional.
Changes in Appetite or Sleeping Habits
Kidney problems may interfere with your usual sleeping and eating routines. For example, you may feel less hungry than expected, and while some brain fog is common, you may also have more difficulty falling and staying asleep.
Appetite and sleeping issues are also common symptoms for a variety of conditions. Like nausea and fatigue, it's worth keeping an eye on these symptoms and addressing any concerns with your doctor.
Your kidneys control your body's ability to process and dispose of excess fluids. When they're damaged, you can retain fluid, which leads to uncomfortable swelling in your arms, legs, hands, and feet.
Fluid can also build up in more dangerous areas, such as in your lungs and around your heart. If you have difficulty breathing or experience chest pain, don't delay getting checked out by a physician.
Since your kidneys are part of your renal system, many people experience changes in how frequently they urinate. As a result, the kidneys can no longer filter and concentrate waste in your urine normally, which can result in more frequent urination urges, which is especially telling if you wake up frequently at night to use the restroom. However, if chronic kidney disease progresses, your urine may turn into a dark or unusual color such as red, brown, or sometimes purple.
Lifestyle Changes for Managing Symptoms
Many people can successfully manage their symptoms just by making a few changes to their usual lifestyle. Changing your diet, increasing your activity, and decreasing your indulgence in alcohol and tobacco can save you from dealing with more troubling symptoms later.
Adjust Your Diet
Diet plays a massive role in your overall health, including the health of your kidneys. Eating healthy can go a long way toward easing many symptoms.
Try to limit the number of foods you eat that contain compounds your kidneys struggle to process. For example, foods containing high-salt and high-fat and high phosphorus, high potassium, and high protein are best kept to a minimum.
You should also monitor your blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes. Adopting a diabetes-friendly diet is critical for managing kidney disease symptoms and preventing further kidney damage.
Exercise is excellent for your body, but you don't necessarily have to become a gym rat to stay in shape. Just 30 minutes of light aerobic exercise a few times a week can significantly impact your well-being, which means there's little excuse not to do it.
If you cannot do light cardio exercise, try some simple strength training with dumbbells, or even some yoga exercises can be helpful. Anything that gets you moving is worth doing.
Exercise and proper nutrition are the keys to managing your weight. Obesity can exacerbate kidney damage, so burning off excess body fat is always a good idea.
Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
Smoking and drinking can increase your risk of developing or worsening chronic kidney disease by over five times. The best thing you can do for your body is to cut back seriously or eliminate the bad habits.
Other Chronic Kidney Disease Treatments
Lifestyle changes aren't the only chronic kidney disease treatments available. Your doctor can provide you with essential resources for medications and procedures that treat your condition.
For the early stages of kidney disease, you might take vitamins, supplements, and medications such as diuretics. However, later stages of the disease may require a procedure such as a kidney transplant or a procedure to facilitate dialysis. If possible, it's best to prevent further kidney decline with careful treatment of the kidneys from the start.
The symptoms of kidney disease don't have to be overwhelming. However, with proper kidney management and small lifestyle changes, you can manage your symptoms efficiently and keep your kidneys as healthy as possible.
Chronic Kidney Disease References
- Global, regional, and national burden of chronic kidney disease, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017
- KidneyFund.org Stages of kidney disease
- Healthline – Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease
- Medscape – What are the stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
- MedicineNet – What Are the 5 Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease?
- Mayo Clinic – Chronic Kidney Disease
- National Kidney Foundation – Chronic kidney disease (CKD) – Symptoms, causes, treatment
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases – Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease
- NPR – Popular Acid Reflux Drugs Are Linked To Kidney Disease Risk
- Mayo Clinic – Kidney Transplant
- WebMD – When Do I Need Dialysis?