Kidney disease is no joke. According to the National Kidney Foundation, chronic kidney disease is the slow deterioration of kidney function. Over time, kidney disease can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, nerve damage, anemia, and weak bones. In the U.S., an estimated 26 million Americans are afflicted with chronic kidney disease. In Australia, one person dies every minute from kidney related disease, sometimes referred to as the “Silent Killer,” says Kidney Health Australia.
While these may be some scary statistics, early detection of kidney disease can help slow the progression of the disease and prevent kidney failure. This is why it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of kidney disease and malfunction. According to Mayo Clinic, signs of kidney disease may not point directly to kidney disease and may not even appear until the disease has progressed. Talk to your doctor right away if you notice any of the following symptoms.
Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, problems sleeping, muscle twitches and cramps, swelling of the feet and ankles, persistent itching, and changes in urination are all typical signs of chronic kidney disease. If you suspect you have any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can then run three simple tests of the blood and urine to determine whether or not you have chronic kidney disease.
If you have diabetes (type 1 or 2), high blood pressure, an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or recurrent kidney infections, you are at a higher risk for chronic kidney disease. It is also important to be aware that smoking and obesity are major risk factors. Further, African-American, Native American, and Asian-American populations have a higher rate of chronic kidney disease and should ask their doctors to closely monitor their kidney function.
Following what is known as the DASH diet can help prevent chronic kidney disease, reports Renal & Urology News. DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” and is focused on fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy.