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Kidney Disease: Symptoms and Causes

Concerned about kidney disease? Know the warning signs.

The kidneys are important organs within the body that are used to filter out waste and toxins while also delivering hormones, vitamins and other important nutrients into the blood. You need your kidneys in order for your body to function properly. When the kidneys don’t function properly, this is known as kidney disease. Understand the causes of kidney disease and what potential warning signs should have you turning to our Des Moines, IA, nephrologists right away.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

Unfortunately, as with most diseases, you may not develop symptoms until kidney disease has progressed. Symptoms may be mild at first and can easily be mistaken for other conditions. Some signs of kidney problems include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Muscle cramps, particularly at night
  • Edema in the feet and ankles
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Increased urination that may wake you up at night
  • Waking up with puffy eyes

Kidney disease can develop in anyone and affect people of all ages. You may be more at risk for developing kidney disease if:

  • You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension
  • You have a family history of kidney disease
  • You are an older adult
  • You overuse painkillers or participate in illegal drugs

Preventing Kidney Disease

The good news is that there are steps you can start taking today that can reduce your risk of developing kidney disease. One of the best ways to protect the health of your kidneys is to lead a healthy lifestyle that also reduces your risk for high blood pressure and diabetes. Some ways to prevent kidney disease include:

  • Visiting your doctor at least once a year for a comprehensive checkup and physical exam
  • Eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar and salt (no more than 2,300mg of salt per day)
  • Getting at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise most days of the week
  • Maintaining a healthy weight (talk with your doctor about safe but effective ways to lose weight if you are overweight or obese)
  • Getting quality sleep every night (about 7-8 hours)
  • Finding outlets that help you manage your stress
  • Quitting or avoiding smoking
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol
  • If you do have heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, making sure they are being properly controlled through a healthy lifestyle and medication

With two practices in Des Moines, IA, Iowa Kidney Physicians is the leading nephrology team serving all our patients’ renal needs. If you are experiencing symptoms of kidney disease or have been diagnosed with kidney disease and want to discuss your options, call us at (515) 336-6557.