Signs Your Kidneys Are Struggling

Signs Your Kidneys Are Struggling

Signs Your Kidneys Are Struggling. Ever feel like you can’t grab your breath or that your ankles seem more swollen than usual? You may be experiencing signs that your kidneys aren’t functioning correctly. Your kidneys purify waste and excess fluid from your blood, so you’ll notice when they struggle. Don’t ignore the warning signs – your kidneys are vital organs, and decreased function can have serious health consequences if left unaddressed. The great news is that by making some lifestyle changes and working closely with your doctor, you may be able to improve your kidney health and avoid further damage. Read on to discover the top eight signs your kidneys need extra TLC.

Decreased Urine Output or Changes in Urination is Signs Your Kidneys Are Struggling

Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing

  1. If you’ve noticed a decrease in how often you need to go to the bathroom, your kidneys could struggle. Our kidneys purify waste and excess fluid from the blood, so less urine usually means they aren’t working as well as they should.
  2. Are you going less than 4-6 times a day? That’s not normal and could indicate your kidneys are having trouble. It would be best if you aimed for light yellow, clear urine. Dark, concentrated urine is a sign you need to drink more water to help your kidneys do their job.
  3. Do you feel you must go, but only a little comes out? It could mean your kidneys aren’t filtering properly. Speak to your doctor right away.
  4. Are you waking up at night to use the bathroom more than once? Frequent nighttime urination can indicate decreased kidney function or another issue and should be evaluated.
  5. Have you noticed swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, or face? Excess fluid retention happens when your kidneys can’t filter and remove enough waste and water. See your doctor promptly for tests and treatment.
  6. Are you more tired or confused than usual? Both fatigue and impaired thinking can occur when waste builds up in your blood due to decreased kidney function. It is a medical emergency, so call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately.

Your kidneys are vital organs, so any changes in urination need to be checked out. The good news is that decreased kidney function can often be managed well when caught early. Talk to your doctor about simple blood and urine tests to determine if your kidneys need support. Your health and quality of life depend on it!

Swelling in the Legs, Ankles, or Feet Signs Your Kidneys Are Struggling

If your ankles and feet are puffy and swollen, your kidneys could be in trouble. Kidney disease often causes fluid retention, which leads to swelling in the lower extremities.

When damaged, your kidneys usually filter excess fluid and waste from your blood, but they can’t do their job correctly. As a result, the excess fluid has nowhere to go, so it builds up in your tissues, causing swelling.

At first, the swelling may come and go or only happen at the end of the day when you’ve been standing or sitting a lot. But as kidney function declines, the swelling becomes more constant and severe.

Swollen feet can signify several types of kidney disease, including chronic kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, and acute kidney failure. If left untreated, kidney disease will continue to get worse over time.

Other signs your kidneys aren’t working right include decreased urine output, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, nausea, and irregular heartbeat. If you experience swelling or symptoms, see your doctor immediately for blood and urine tests to check your kidney function.

The good news is that by catching kidney disease early, treatment options like medication, diet changes, and dialysis can help slow or prevent further damage. So don’t ignore swollen ankles and feet—your kidneys and health depend on them!

Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing

Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing

Shortness of breath or strained breathing can be an alarming symptom of kidney problems. It  is because your kidneys maintain the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes in your body. This balance gets thrown off when they struggle, and fluid can build up in their lungs, causing breathing difficulties.

Fluid Overload

If your kidneys can’t efficiently filter waste and excess fluid from your blood, the extra fluid must go somewhere. Often, it ends up in your lungs, a condition known as pulmonary edema. As a result, oxygen is difficult to pass into your bloodstream, leaving you short of breath. Sitting or sleeping propped up on extra pillows can help relieve this symptom. Diuretics or “water pills” may also reduce excess fluid.

Anemia is the Signs Your Kidneys Are Struggling

Your kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin that stimulates your body to make red blood cells. With kidney disease, erythropoietin levels drop, resulting in anemia or low red blood cell count. Red blood cells carry oxygen all over your body, so anemia can leave you feeling short of breath or winded. Iron and erythropoietin-stimulating supplements may help correct anemia.

High Blood Pressure

Chronic kidney disease often causes high blood pressure, which strains your heart and blood vessels. It can lead to shortness of breath, especially with activity or exercise. Controlling high blood pressure is critical for slowing the progression of kidney disease and managing symptoms. A variety of blood pressure medications may be needed to keep your levels in a healthy range.

Talk to your doctor immediately if you frequently feel short of breath or winded. They can determine if your kidneys are the source of the problem and recommend appropriate treatment to help you feel better and breathe easier again. The earlier kidney disease is detected, the more can be done to slow its progression.

Fatigue and Low Energy

Fatigue and low energy are common symptoms of kidney problemsThe kidneys produce a hormone, are impaired, and produce less erythropoietin, which can lead to anemia and fatigue.

Lack of Motivation

Do you feel like you have little motivation or energy to do activities you used to enjoy? Kidney disease can sap your vitality and enthusiasm. You may feel too tired to socialize, exercise, or even do chores around the house. This lack of get-up-and-go is a red flag that your kidneys need support.

Difficulty Concentrating is Signs Your Kidneys Are Struggling

Are you having trouble focusing or difficulty concentrating? Impaired kidney function can lead to a buildup of waste products in your blood that negatively impact your cognitive abilities. As a result, you may frequently feel foggy-headed, scattered, or unable to think clearly. If you’re experiencing these mental struggles, talk to your doctor immediately.

Ask your doctor about treatment options like iron or erythropoietin supplements which can help boost your red blood cell count and ease fatigue.

Stay hydrated and drink water to help your kidneys function properly. Unfortunately, dehydration will only make your symptoms worse.

Follow your doctor’s diet, limiting sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. A proper diet can help slow the progression of kidney disease and reduce fatigue.

Talk to your physician about possible dialysis or a kidney transplant if your kidney function deteriorates. These treatments can help eliminate waste buildup in your body and restore your energy levels.

Fatigue from kidney problems often occurs gradually, so you may not even realize your kidneys are initially struggling. Pay close attention to your energy levels and motivation, and talk to your doctor immediately if you notice a persistent drop. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of regaining vitality.

Nausea or Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of kidney problems, especially in the early stages. Your kidneys are responsible for purifying waste and excess fluid from your blood. When they start to struggle, waste builds up in your body and causes you to feel sick to your stomach.

Why It Happens

There are a few reasons why failing kidneys lead to nausea and vomiting:

A buildup of waste products like urea and creatinine in the bloodstream. Your kidneys usually filter these out, but when they’re impaired, the waste circulates in your blood, making you nauseous.

Electrolyte imbalance. Healthy kidneys help regulate levels of electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Imbalances in these electrolytes can trigger nausea and vomiting.

Anemia. Kidney disease often causes a shortage of red blood cells (anemia), reducing oxygen supply to your tissues and organs. It can lead to nausea, especially when you’re active or exercising.

Acidosis. Impaired kidneys have trouble balancing the acid levels in your body. Too much acid causes metabolic acidosis, frequently resulting in nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

The buildup of digestive waste. When your kidneys aren’t filtering properly, waste from your digestive system also builds up and causes nausea.

Medication side effects. Some medications for high blood pressure or kidney disease can cause nausea as a side effect. Talk to your doctor about adjusting or changing any medications that make you feel sick.

The great news is there are ways to manage nausea from kidney problems, including medication, diet changes, and lifestyle adjustments. But the best way to prevent nausea is to get proper treatment for your kidney disease and slow its progression. Catching kidney problems is critical to avoiding complications and maintaining quality of life.


So there, you have some critical signs that your kidneys may not function properly. Don’t ignore these symptoms – your kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from your blood. If left untreated, kidney disease can become a severe health issue. The good news is many types of kidney disease can be managed well when caught early.

Talk to your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms. They can run tests to determine if your kidneys are the culprit and recommend treatment to help get you back to feeling like yourself again. Your health and quality of life are worth it. So stay vigilant, and don’t hesitate to speak up if you notice your body sending you these critical messages.

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Written by Vitals Blog

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