what are the signs that something is wrong with my kidneys?
Albumin home test kits and smartphone-enabled home urinalysis devices are available to check your kidney function at home.

If a person is suffering from chronic kidney disease or suspects kidney damage, albumin home test kits and smartphone-enabled home urinalysis device are available to check for kidney function at home.

  • Simple urine test: Usually, albumin is not present in urine. This test kit is convenient and can accurately diagnose albuminuria (presence of albumin in the urine), which is a sign of kidney damage. A person may keep a record of the extent of albuminuria and plan a visit to the doctor accordingly.
  • Smartphone-enabled home urinalysis device or dip.io test: This enables users to conduct a urinalysis test at home and share the results with their doctors. A person may get more detailed information on https://healthy.io/product/
  • Clinical symptoms: Such as urine color, presence of blood, or foul odor, and generalized body edema may be monitored along with regular blood pressure charting.

Kidneys are a pair of fist-sized, bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine below the rib cage.

8 major functions of the kidney 

  1. Regulation of electrolytes, such as salt, potassium, and acid content
  2. Excretion of waste products
  3. Removal of excess fluid to maintain fluid-electrolyte balance
  4. Removal of drugs
  5. Maintain a balance of chemicals
  6. Release hormones to regulate blood pressure
  7. Production of the active form of vitamin D
  8. Controls red blood cell production

Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, and about 37 million Americans are estimated to have kidney disease. However, many of the cases are often ignored and remain unnoticed or undiagnosed, or the symptoms appear at a very late stage of the disease.

If a person is older than 60 years or at risk for kidney disease due to high blood pressurediabetes, or a family history of kidney failure, it is essential to visit a doctor and analyze kidney functions on an annual basis.

17 warning signs of kidney problems

There are several physical signs and symptoms of kidney disease, which include:

  1. Extreme tiredness, weakness, or trouble concentrating
  2. Insomnia
  3. Dry and itchy skin
  4. Increased frequency or urgency to urinate
  5. Difficulty or pain while passing urine
  6. Foamy or frothy urine
  7. Puffiness around the eyes or swollen face
  8. Swelling of feet and ankles
  9. Loss or lack of appetite
  10. Muscle cramps
  11. Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  12. Feeling cold
  13. Shortness of breath even after a little exertion
  14. Feeling faint and dizzy
  15. Metallic taste in the mouth
  16. Bad breath (ammonia breath)
  17. Nausea, vomiting, or stomach upset

11 causes of kidney disease

Diabetes and high blood pressure are responsible for up to two-thirds of all cases of kidney disease.

Other conditions that can affect the kidneys are:

  1. People older than 60 years are at a higher risk
  2. Family history of kidney disease
  3. Obesity
  4. Black, Native American, or Asian American ethnicities
  5. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  6. Recurrent kidney infections
  7. Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the tiny filters in the kidneys called glomeruli)
  8. Inherited diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease (a genetic disorder that causes many fluid-filled cysts to grow in the kidneys)
  9. Trauma or injuries
  10. Lupus (an autoimmune disease)
  11. Obstructive diseases, such as kidney stones, prostate enlargement, and tumors

QUESTION

The only purpose of the kidneys is to filter blood. See Answer

How is kidney disease diagnosed?

The following tests are used to diagnose kidney diseases:

  • Urine test: To check for the presence of protein or blood in the urine.
  • Blood tests:
    • Serum creatinine: According to the National Kidney Foundation, a creatinine level higher than 1.2 mg/dL for women and 1.4 mg/dL for men is a sign of a kidney disorder.
    • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): Normal blood levels should be between 6 and 20 mg/dL. A value higher than this indicates a kidney problem.
    • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) calculation: The doctor can calculate it from the blood creatinine, age, ethnicity, gender, and other factors.
  • Ultrasound or computed tomography scan: Detects problems in the structure of the kidneys and the urinary tract.
  • Kidney biopsy: A sample of kidney tissue is sent to a laboratory to be visualized under a microscope.

How can you prevent getting kidney disease?

A person can prevent kidney diseases by adopting the following measures:

  • Consume a healthy and balanced diet: Eat a low-sodium and low-fat diet, including fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  • Regular exercise: Increase physical activity and try to be active for at least 30 minutes on most of the days.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid or quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Control diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease

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Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

National Kidney Foundation. Using a Home Test Kit and Smartphone to Test for Kidney Disease. https://www.kidney.org/news/using-home-test-kit-and-smartphone-to-test-kidney-disease

University of Michigan Health System. Home Test for Protein in Urine. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw113012

National Kidney Foundation. 10 Signs You May Have Kidney Disease. https://www.kidney.org/news/ekidney/august14/10_Signs_You_May_Have_Kidney_Disease

Khatri M. Warning Signs of Kidney Problems. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-kidney-warning-signs

National Kidney Foundation. CKD Symptoms and Causes. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease

National Kidney Foundation. How Your Kidneys Work. https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/howkidneyswrk