Symptoms & Diagnosis
While CKD can be silent in the early stages, which is why testing is critical, some common warning signs and symptoms you should be aware of include:
- Less energy, feeling tired
- Pain in the small of your back, just below the ribs (not aggravated by movement)
- Nausea, vomiting, discoloration of urine
- Burning or difficulty during urination
- Painful muscle and leg cramps
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Lack of appetite
- Dry, itchy skin
- Puffiness around the eyes, especially in the morning
- The need to urinate more often, especially at night
Risk Factors of CKD:
Primary Risk Factors:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Family history of CKD
- Age 60 or older
Secondary Risk Factors:
- Autoimmune disease
- Urinary tract and/or systemic infections
- Overuse of over-the-counter painkillers
- Kidney loss, damage, injury or infection
Additional Risk Factors:
- African American heritage
- Native American heritage
- Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander heritage
- Chronic Urinary Tract Infections
- Prolonged used of NSAIDs, a type of painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen
- Kidney Stones
- Low birth weight
Should I get tested?
If you have any risk factors, yes; otherwise, no.
If I do need to be tested, which tests should I get?
The two most essential are a urine test to measure the ratio of albumin (a protein) to creatinine (a normal waste product) in the urine (presence of albumin indicates CKD); and a blood test to measure glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and how well your kidneys filter creatinine out of the blood.
What if a test indicates I may have CKD?
First, schedule another test. You need the results of two tests taken more than three months apart to define the condition. Depending on the results, your doctor may want to monitor your results for a while or schedule other tests. The two of you should also discuss and adjust any medications you’re taking to reduce stress on your kidneys.
If CKD is diagnosed, will I need to see a specialist?
Not if it’s caught early and you’re otherwise in good health. If it’s advanced or advancing rapidly, however, or you have other health problems as well, your doctor could recommend that you immediately see a specialist.
Can CKD be cured?
No. There currently is no cure. If caught early however, it allows more time for interventions that can slow its progress. Most people with early Chronic Kidney Disease have no symptoms, which is why early testing is critical.
Pay attention to these possible trouble signs:
- Fatigue, weakness
- Difficult, painful urination
- Foamy urine
- Pink, dark urine (blood in urine)
- Increased need to urinate (especially at night)
- Puffy eyes
- Swollen face, hands, abdomen, ankles, feet
- Increased thirst