Kidney disease occurs due to a loss of function in the kidneys over time. The main function of the kidneys is to filter out wastes, toxins, and excess fluids from the blood; as damage to the kidneys increases, these substances begin to build up to unhealthy levels, leading to a variety of health problems.
Without appropriate treatment, kidney disease can escalate to kidney failure, at which point you would require dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Your chances of getting prompt treatment for kidney disease are higher when you can recognize warning signs as they appear. While many of these indicators are not exclusive to kidney disease, they may warrant diagnostic examination by your doctor. Some of the warning signs you should look out for include:
Urinary problems: Kidney disease involves damage to the kidney’s filters, which can cause a multitude of urinary issues, such as needing to urinate more frequently, particularly at night. This damage can also lead to foaminess (indicating the presence of protein in the urine) and blood.
Fatigue: A buildup of toxins and waste substances in the blood due to kidney disease can also lead to increased tiredness and difficulty concentrating. In some cases, this occurs due to anemia, which can develop as a complication of kidney disease.
Dry and itchy skin: Kidney disease can lead to mineral and bone disease, which involves an imbalance of minerals and nutrients in the blood; this imbalance can cause you to develop dry, itchy skin, also known as pruritis. This occurs more often in people with advanced or end-stage kidney disease, but can also occur in people in the early stages of the disease.
If you have noticed any of these signs, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. A primary care physician can screen you for a variety of potential causes of these symptoms; if they notice additional indicators of kidney disease, they may refer you to a nephrologist, a specialist in this type of disease.
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Division of Nephrology can provide treatment for kidney disease and a variety of other kidney-related medical problems. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6742.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.