Kidney Disease

Share this page:

Signs and Symptoms

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can progress silently over many years, with no signs or symptoms or with ones that are too general for a person to suspect as related to kidney function. For that reason, routine blood and urine tests are especially important. They detect blood or protein in the urine and abnormal levels of certain waste products in the blood, such as creatinine and urea (blood urea nitrogen or BUN), which are early signs of kidney dysfunction. The following problems may, however, be warning signs of kidney disease and should not be ignored. Prompt medical attention is required when any of these are present:

  • Swelling or puffiness, particularly around the eyes or in the face, wrists, abdomen, thighs or ankles
  • Urine that is foamy, bloody, or coffee-colored
  • A decrease in the amount of urine
  • Problems urinating, such as a burning feeling or abnormal discharge during urination, or a change in the frequency of urination, especially at night
  • Mid-back pain (flank), below the ribs, near where the kidneys are located
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

As kidney disease worsens, symptoms may include:

  • Urinating more or less often
  • Feeling itchy
  • Tiredness, loss of concentration
  • Loss of appetite, nausea and/or vomiting
  • Swelling and/or numbness in hands and feet
  • Darkened skin
  • Muscle cramps

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a sudden loss of kidney function and can be fatal. It requires prompt treatment. Symptoms may include:

  • Urinating less frequently
  • Fluid retention, causing swelling in the legs, ankles or feet
  • Drowsiness, fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or coma
  • Chest pain

« Prev | Next »