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Chronic Kidney Disease (cont.)

Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms and When to Seek Medical Care

The kidneys are remarkable in their ability to compensate for problems in their function. That is why chronic kidney disease may progress without symptoms for a long time until only very minimal kidney function is left.

Because the kidneys perform so many functions for the body, kidney disease can affect the body in a large number of different ways. Symptoms vary greatly. Several different body systems may be affected. Notably, most patients have no decrease in urine output even with very advanced chronic kidney disease.

Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease include:

When to Seek Emergency Treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease

Several signs and symptoms may suggest complications of chronic kidney disease. One should call a health care professional if they notice any of the following symptoms:

  • change in energy level or strength;
  • increased water retention (puffiness or swelling) in the legs, around the eyes, or in other parts of the body;
  • shortness of breath or change from normal breathing;
  • nausea or vomiting;
  • lightheadedness;
  • bone or joint pain;
  • easy bruising; or
  • itching.

If a woman has known kidney problems, she should see a health care professional right away if she knows or suspects that she is pregnant.

See a health care practitioner as recommended for monitoring and treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

The following signs and symptoms represent the possibility of a severe complication of chronic kidney disease and warrant a visit to the nearest hospital emergency department.

  • Change in level of consciousness -- extreme sleepiness or difficult to awaken
  • Severe fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Severe bleeding (from any source)
  • Muscle weakness
Last Reviewed 11/17/2017
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Chronic Kidney Disease »

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by an irreversible deterioration of renal function that gradually progresses to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

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