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Symptoms of kidney disease

Detecting kidney disease is difficult. Symptoms are often rare. While there are no obvious signs, we share with you some indicators of reduced kidney function.

A health professional checks the blood pressure of an older man

Detecting kidney disease

Detecting whether or not you may have early-stage kidney disease is difficult. Symptoms are often rare, and people can lose up to 90 per cent of kidney function without noticing any obvious signs.

The good news, however, is that the progression of kidney disease can be slowed or even stopped – if caught early enough. Some indicators of reduced kidney function include:

  • high blood pressure
  • changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed
  • changes in the appearance of your urine (for example, frothy or foaming urine)
  • blood in your urine
  • puffiness in your legs, ankles or around your eyes
  • pain in your kidney area
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headaches
  • lack of concentration
  • itching
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea and vomiting
  • bad breath and a metallic taste in your mouth
  • muscle cramps
  • pins and needles in your fingers or toes.

Should I be worried about kidney disease?

It’s important to note that symptoms associated with kidney disease are very general. They can be caused by other illnesses. In fact, around one in ten adults in Australia have signs associated with chronic kidney disease.

So, there’s no need to panic – please read about the risk factors such as diabetes, blood pressure, age and weight, then visit your doctor for a Kidney Health Check. Your doctor will ask about your family’s medical history, along with a few questions on your general health and well being. They’ll check your blood pressure and ask you to do a urine test and blood test while you’re there, too.

We're here to help

If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, you may be in shock and wonder why you didn’t experience any symptoms. This is normal. Kidney Health Australia is here for support. Phone 1800 454 363 (free call) between 9am-5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time and our health information team can talk you through it.

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