10 Signs That Your Kidneys Aren’t Working Properly

Written by Tanya Arora • 

Located on either side of your body, your kidneys work 24×7 to ensure that you can stay in the prime of your health all the time. But if you’re not careful enough and don’t follow a healthy lifestyle, you run the risk of damaging them. And that means your kidneys fail to function as they should.

If you are worried that you’re suffering from kidney problems, pay attention to the following signs that your body may be giving out to you!

1. Sleep Troubles

Sleep troubles and kidney malfunction almost go hand in hand. In fact, people who suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) also have sleep apnea (1). What happens is that, when your kidneys stop functioning the way they are supposed to, toxins that are normally eliminated through urine remain in your blood. This makes it hard to fall asleep (2).

2. Weakness And Fatigue

Image: Shutterstock

Headaches are a part of this too. One of the many functions of your kidneys is to bring about the conversion of vitamin D for the maintenance of healthy bones as well as to produce a hormone known as ‘erythropoietin’ or EPO (3). The production of red blood cells (RBCs) is the primary role of this hormone. Hence, when your kidneys fail to work properly, the production of this hormone goes down and you end up feeling both physically and mentally tired.

3. Itchy And Dry Skin

If you have itchy and dry skin that lotions can’t seem to fix, it’s a sign that your kidneys are probably failing (4). As you know, one of the primary jobs of your kidneys is to flush out waste materials from your blood, thereby maintaining the balance of minerals in your body. When your kidneys are unable to maintain the right balance of nutrients and minerals, you get dry, itchy skin.

4. Oral Odor And Metallic Taste

Image: Shutterstock

The build-up of waste material in your blood due to kidney malfunction can cause a lot of harm to your body. Bad breath and metallic taste are just one of those harms. Bad breath is a sign that there are too many toxins in your bloodstream. Furthermore, although a metallic taste in the mouth can have multiple causes, if this taste refuses to leave despite treatment, it can be a sign of kidney failure.

5. Breathlessness

A little amount of breathlessness after an intense workout, a run or other such similar activities is normal. However, if you feel short of breath without exerting yourself, your kidneys might be in trouble (5). Why this happens is dependent on two reasons. One is when fluid builds up in your lungs and the other is due to the subsequent anemia, which causes a deficiency of oxygen in your body. Both of these are caused by improperly functioning kidneys.

6. Backache

Image: Shutterstock

Kidneys that are on the verge of failing can also give rise to back pain. This kind of backache is deep and is caused in the lower sides of the back, below the ribcage (6). Due to its close proximity to the following areas, you may feel it in your hips or groin. Such aches are generally as a result of cysts in your kidneys and can be accompanied by fever, vomiting, and frequent urination.

7. Swollen Feet, Ankles, And Hands

By now you’ve already learned that kidney problems are equal to excess fluids in your system. This extra fluid causes sodium retention in various parts of your body, which consequently leads to inflammation in your hands, feet, and ankles (7). However, you need to keep in mind that this inflammation (especially in the lower body) can also signal liver or heart diseases or problems in the veins.

8. Puffy Eyes

Image: Shutterstock

One of the earliest indicators that your kidney health is going downhill is having puffy eyes. This puffiness is caused by excess protein in your urine. Your kidneys start transferring a lot of protein in your urine instead of distributing it to the various parts of your body (8).

9. High Blood Pressure

For your body to work just fine, your kidneys and circulatory system form a symbiotic relationship (9). This means when your kidneys are damaged, you can expect your blood pressure to shoot up. To explain this further, the kidneys are made up of nephrons, which are responsible for filtering away waste materials and excess fluid from your blood. However, when your blood vessels get damaged, your nephrons are unable to get adequate nutrients and oxygen, leading to a rise in blood pressure.

10. Urination Changes

Image: Shutterstock

From color and odor to frequency and appearance, changes in urination are generally an indication that there’s something wrong with your kidneys (10). Some of the common symptoms that spell kidney trouble include frequent urination at night and bloody or foamy urine.

If you experience these symptoms, don’t stop to self-diagnose. Getting professional help is the only way to treat all kinds of kidney problems.

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.

    Latest Articles