Unfortunately, many kidney problems are asymptomatic. Frequently, kidney disease symptoms do not present themselves until the kidney problem is advanced. This fact underscores the importance of regular testing in order to be proactive. When caught early, many kidney problems are quite treatable with excellent results.
Symptoms of kidney problems. When symptoms do occur, the common signs of kidney problems include feeling nauseous, back pain, frequent urination, dizziness, malaise, swelling feet and hands or face, blood in the urine and high blood pressure.
Diagnosis of kidney problems. Since many kidney problems do not have symptoms until the problem has advanced, testing regularly will assist in early diagnosis. Anyone with a family history of kidney problems, diabetes or high blood pressure should get regular blood and urine tests. Additionally, the elderly, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans have a higher risk of developing kidney disease and should monitor their kidney health with regular testing.
Common kidney problems. Several issues can develop into kidney problems. These include:
- Chronic kidney disease — According to the American Kidney Fund, more than 31 million Americans are living with chronic kidney disease — lasting kidney damage that over time can cause kidney failure.
- Acute kidney injury — Accidental injury, medication and blood loss can cause kidneys to fail, and it may or may not get better.
- Hematuria — Blood in urine can be caused by exercise, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, kidney injury and urinary tract cancer.
- Proteinuria — Protein in urine can cause kidney damage and eventually failure.
- Kidney stones — A small stone or rock forms in the kidney when certain chemicals in the body stick together. Stones can be passed or remain within the kidney.
- Nephrotic syndrome in children — When children have minimal change disease, they commonly grow out of this sort of kidney problem.
- Nephrotic syndrome in adults — When diabetes or high blood pressure causes protein in the urine, damage to the kidney can result.
- Polycystic kidney disease — This is a genetic disease that causes multiple cysts to grow in the kidney and cause damage.
Kidney problem treatments. Proper treatment will depend upon what type of kidney disease is present. There are several options for treatment of the kidneys:
- Hemodialysis — This dialysis filters the blood with a special dialyzer. Clean blood is sent back into the body.
- Peritoneal dialysis — This form of dialysis cleans waste and fluid from the blood with dialysate.
- Kidney transplant — This treatment replaces the diseased kidney with a donor transplant. The donor can be living as everyone usually has two kidneys but only needs one to live. The transplant can also be from a deceased donor.