When Patients Choose, Patients Win

Get health tips delivered to your inbox


March 19, 2019

Five Easily Overlooked Signs that Your Kidneys May Be in Trouble

Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP 

Your kidneys maintain fluid levels, remove waste, control blood pressure, produce red cells and strengthen bones. They’re one of the most important organs in your body, but unlike the heart of the lungs, they don’t get a lot of attention until they fail. Roughly one in 10 adults have undetected kidney damage. Here are five early signs that your kidneys may be in trouble:  

  1. Change in urination habits. Kidneys control urination, so changes in color or frequency, pain or blood in the urine are all signs something may be wrong. 
  2. Protein in the urine. Kidney damage causes protein to leak into urine, which can easily be tested for at a routine exam. 
  3. Fatigue and dizziness. When kidneys do not produce enough red blood cells you may feel muscle weakness or tiredness. 
  4. Swelling. Kidneys get rid of excess fluid, and puffiness is a sign they’re not doing their job.
  5. Itchy skin. Kidney problems can cause excessive urea in the blood, which causes skin to itch.  

Many people lose up to 75 percent of their kidney function before they notice any symptoms. If you suspect something may be wrong, make an appointment with a nurse practitioner to get your kidney function checked!