The kidneys are an identical pair of organs that are in the back of the abdomen. Each kidney measures between 4 and 5 inches long. Their function is to filter the blood that is why kidney failure could be lead to death. All of our blood passes through the kidneys many times each day, removing waste, controlling the body’s balance of fluid, and regulating electrolytes. As kidneys filter the blood, they create urine to be excreted from the kidney’s pelvis. People can lose up to 90% of their kidney function without having symptoms.
Kidneys are some of the most vital organs in the body. Aside from filtering the blood, they control the production of red blood cells, produce vitamin D, and keep blood pressure regulated. Because the symptoms of kidney damage are stealth, over 2 million Americans are living with some degree of kidney failure without knowing it. Here are some symptoms that may alert kidney failure.
Increasing Blood Pressure
An increase in blood pressure may make someone think that they are experiencing an unusually high level of stress. However, this symptom could be a sign of kidney failure. Thus begins a dangerous cycle because once the kidneys are damaged, they are not able to effectively control blood pressure, causing it to increase even more. The pounding of blood is incredibly forceful and causes the blood vessels to become scarred, making your kidneys more vulnerable to excess damage.
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Problems with Concentration
Problems focusing and difficulties concentrating are common with people who are overwhelmed or stressed out. This is a symptom of many health-related issues that are often pushed to the side. However, this may be a sign of kidney failure.
When the kidneys begin to fail, they are not able to remove waste from the body as well as they should. This can cause a build-up of waste, impacting the entire body. This may start at the stomach causing pain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, and then move onto the brain, causing headaches, the inability to think clearly, and the inability to focus or concentrate.
Fatigue should alert you to more than just tiredness. If you continue to feel tired after an easy day, or after a long night of rest, the kidneys could be to blame. Once your kidneys begin to fail, they are unable to properly regulate hemoglobin levels, resulting in a major drop in overall energy. It may also lead to anemia.
Fluid may build up in your system if your kidneys are unable to create urine for the body to excrete. This fluid build-up may result in inflammation and swelling in the muscle tissues. This can also lead to weight gain.
There are two easy tests to test for kidney disease. These include a urine test called ACR, and a blood test. An ACR test measures the ratio of albumin-to-creatinine. During this test, urine is tested for albumin, which is a type of protein. This protein should not be present in the urine, as its presence could mean that the kidneys are not properly filtering the blood. Three positive results of this test over a span of three months is a sign of kidney disease.
A blood test may be done to test for the waste product creatinine. This waste product comes from muscle tissue and is not removed from the blood if the kidneys are failing. After testing for creatinine, your result is measured with your age, race, and sex to find out how well your kidneys are working.
The kidneys should not be ignored, as they are often the culprit of a bigger problem. If you feel like you may be experiencing abnormal stress or fatigue, don’t forget to consider your kidneys to be an option of the cause.