So we are going to be talking on signs and symptoms of kidney disease, also known as renal disease, so we’re going to talk about a wide variety of signs and symptoms we can see with early disease so early kidney disease all the way up to renal or kidney failure. So the first one i want to talk about here is urination changes, so this makes sense if there’s an issue with the kidneys we can have urination changes, sometimes we may see increased or decreased urine volume. So in some kidney conditions we can see an increased urination or increased urine volume, so patients may experience more frequent trips to the washroom, so they have to urinate more frequently and then in some more advanced stages of kidney disease we often see decreasing urination or decreased urine volume. Some other disease states of the kidney can lead to foamy urine, so this means there may be protein in your urine, and in some cases there may also be blood in the urine, called hematuria. The next sign that we’re going to talk about here is peripheral edema. This is actually pitting edema, so if you were to actually see an individual’s legs here and you can see that there’s a lot of interstitial fluid in the tissues where it’s not supposed to be, and if you actually push your finger on that area and release you can see this pitting, this is what we call pitting edema. So this is caused by fluid or volume overload -so this can ultimately be due to advanced kidney disease, so if an individual is not urinating enough volume off or not losing enough volume through their renal system, they can have volume overload, and this can lead to more volume or more fluid in their interstitial areas and a lot of times we see this in the periphery so in their lower limbs oftentimes. We can also see this with nephrotic syndrome – so nephrotic syndrome is a case of kidney disease where there’s a lot of protein losses, particularly loss of albumin – so albumin is the most abundant protein in your blood that actually helps reabsorb interstitial fluid; so it helps reabsorb fluid from your tissues where it’s not supposed to be back into the blood. But if there’s loss of albumin as we may see in nephrotic syndrome, there’s not going to be enough albumin in the blood to actually help reabsorb some of this fluid that we see in some of these cases. The next sign we can see with kidney disease is hypertension = so high blood pressure. So this is again due to increased intravascular volume – so if an individual is not urinating, enough volume off of them, they can have increased intravascular volume so increased volume or increased fluid in their cardiovascular system, so we can see hypertension or high blood pressure.
Another symptom we can see with kidney disease is dyspnea or shortness of breath – this is often again due to similar reasons. So again if there’s volume overload, we can see peripheral edema, hypertension and this can even lead to increased fluid or volume within the chest cavity (so within the thorax) and the increased fluid can surround the lungs causing issues with breathing, and we can also see some chest pain that may occur in these individuals as well. So some other signs and symptoms of kidney disease include difficulty sleeping – so difficulty sleeping because of increased toxins so individuals may complain of either not being able to get to sleep or having issues during sleep or being very tired during the day and this leads into the next symptom that individuals with kidney disease often have which is fatigue. So they can often be very fatigued throughout the day, there’s a lot of daytime sleepiness, and again this is due to increased toxins, so because the kidney filters out and excretes a lot of toxins. If the kidneys are not working properly, toxins can increase leading to fatigue and another reason why patients may be fatigued is secondary to anemia. We’re going to talk about anemia as a result of kidney disease in a moment – and the fatigue may be related to what we just talked about, difficulty sleeping, so sleeping issues, increased toxins themselves can lead to fatigue and then there’s also this anemia as well.
The next symptoms that an individual may experience are muscle twitching and spasms. This is often due to electrolyte imbalances – so the kidney is very important in balancing a lot of electrolytes in our body, and if there’s electrolyte imbalances this can lead to issues with muscle contractions and lead to spontaneous muscle twitching and spasms.