The kidneys serve several important functions for the body, making them among the most critical organs. These two small (approximately the size of a fist) bean-shaped organs are situated under the rib cage, to the left and right of the spine. They are responsible for filtering toxins and excess fluid from the body, which leaves the body in the form of urine.
In addition to riding the body of toxins and excess fluid, as well as creating urine, the kidneys also serve several other functions. Some of these functions include:
– Maintaining a proper balance of electrolytes, including phosphate, sodium, and potassium
– Producing hormones that aid in regulating blood pressure, creating blood cells and keeping bones healthy and strong
Like all organs, kidneys can become damaged. This damage can be the result of a number of things, including traumatic injuries that involve blood loss, excessive dehydration, sepsis, an enlarged prostate, or an excessive intake of drugs or alcohol. Kidney damage can also be the result of certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Whatever the cause, when the kidneys are damaged and fail to work properly for 3 months or more, the condition is diagnosed as chronic kidney disease. If left untreated, this condition can be fatal. The earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment begins, the better the chances of recovery and survival will be. For these reasons, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms that could indicate kidney disease.
Here’s a look at 14 of those symptoms.
1. Urine changes
As mentioned, one of the primary functions of the kidneys is the production of urine. For that reason, changes to urine are one of the most common symptoms of kidney disease. For example, you may feel as if you have to urinate more frequently and with an increased sense of urgency. While you may feel like you have to go immediately, you may only pass a small amount of urine. And, your urine may look foamy, bubbly, or darker in appearance. These changes could be a sign of a less serious condition, such as kidney stones. Nevertheless, if you notice changes in your urine, it is important to see a doctor.