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Saturday, October 21, 2017

#healthTips: 5 Warning Signs of imminent Kidney Damage

The kidneys are vital organs that perform certain key functions without which it becomes practically impossible for the body to thrive. Some of the fundamental roles the kidneys play involve excretion of nitrogenous waste products and toxins from the body system; maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance; synthesis of erythropoietin to drive red blood cell production and regulation of Blood Pressure. 

From the aforementioned, it is obvious that failure of both kidneys has grave implications for the affected individual. But do the kidneys have to fail before medical help and intervention is sought? The answer is NO.

Discussed below are some of the warning or alarm signs that may point to failing kidneys, necessitating an urgent visit to your doctor for proper evaluation and management:

1. Change in urine volume 
If you have observed that you now pass large volumes of urine more often than usual (polyuria), especially if you need to urinate more than 2-3 times at night (nocturia), you may need to see the doctor for further evaluation of your kidneys. In the same vein, reduction in urine output (oliguria) may be a pointer to Acute Kidney Injury. In any case, if you have observed any persistent changes in your urine output, go and see the doctor.

2. Frothiness/Foaminess of the urine 
Did you notice that your urine foams excessively and over a prolonged period? It may be due to large quantities of protein leaking into your urine because of damaged kidneys. You will be doing yourself a lot of good to have your kidneys assessed properly.

3. Passage of bloody urine (Haematuria) 
This is a condition in which an individual passes blood - frank or altered in the urine. It's an alarm symptom that can be due to myriads of problems affecting the kidneys, ureters or the bladder. Some of the common causes are acute glomerulonephritis, sickle cell nephropathy, polycystic kidney disease, renal cancer, stones along the urinary tract, schistosomiasis and so on. Moreover, the bottom line is that the comprehensive evaluation of the kidneys to exclude a renal disease is crucial in this case.

4. Body swelling 
Early morning facial swelling or puffiness that regresses as the day goes by is especially suggestive of 'faulty' kidneys. Eventually, the swelling may progress to involve the entire body (anasarca). However, malnutrition, cardiac or liver diseases may also give a similar picture. If you have this symptom, it's necessary to present to the physician.

5. Persistent hiccups 
Inability of the failing kidneys to excrete urea (one of the waste products) ultimately leads to an accumulation of this toxic substance in the blood (uraemia) and this often irritates the diaphragm, leading to persistent hiccups.

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