Chronic kidney failure, also called chronic kidney disease (CKD) or chronic renal failure, is an irreversible medical condition that impairs the kidneys’ ability to function. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of chronic kidney disease face the highest risk of becoming afflicted. Chronic kidney failure can produce several possible symptoms which may develop at various stages of the disease, generally becoming more noticeable over time.
Several symptoms of chronic kidney failure may appear, though often no visible symptoms may be seen during its earliest stages. While high blood pressure is a frequent cause of CKD, it can also be one of the symptoms. Other early symptoms of chronic kidney failure can include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and a general feeling of illness, per the University of Maryland Medical Center.
As chronic kidney disease progresses, several other symptoms may begin to develop. These could include blood in vomit or waste, numbness or other impaired feeling in the hands or feet, and trouble with maintaining concentration or mental alertness. However, such symptoms do not always develop, and the National Institutes of Health find that many sufferers are unaware that anything is wrong until the disease reaches its later stages.
Symptoms of chronic kidney failure may include a number of urinary abnormalities. The Mayo Clinic reports that sufferers of CKD may notice less frequent urination or reduced urine production. Urine may become dark or cloudy in appearance and urination can sometimes become painful. Proteinuria (protein in urine) may be found in testing; high levels of protein in urine are sometimes recognizable by making it unusually foamy.
Other medical testing may reveal additional symptoms of chronic kidney failure. An ultrasound, MRI, or x-rays can reveal abnormalities in the kidneys including irregular size, shape, or blockages which can point to CKD as a cause. A kidney biopsy is often the most definitive and accurate way to obtain a diagnosis, but it is more invasive and unpleasant than imaging testing.
When the condition is caught early, symptoms of chronic kidney failure can often be managed through a few medical treatments and home remedies. Early treatments for chronic kidney disease are generally dietary in nature. Consumption of certain foods is limited to reduce the demand on the kidneys. Foods which contain high amount of protein, potassium, and sodium are kept to a minimum because these nutrients require more pressure on the kidneys.
Chronic kidney failure may exhibit several symptoms, but it is frequently not discovered until it has reached its advanced stages. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of kidney disease face the highest risk of CKD and should receive regular kidney exams. If you have any questions about chronic kidney disease or believe you may be dealing with its symptoms, consult your doctor.