Kidney Health: Seek Treatment If You Have These Symptoms
Kidneys are important. They filter waste from your blood and contribute to good bone health and blood pressure. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs found near the lower back and fortunately, only one is needed for survival. Despite that good news, kidneys are vital to your overall health and issues impacting these organs can turn serious quickly.
Issues with the kidneys can range from easily treatable to critical. Often, the signs and symptoms are only prevalent after the issue has turned serious. This makes early detection and screenings important for optimal kidney health.
There are three main issues that are most common when it comes to kidney health: kidney infection, kidney stones, and kidney disease.
Infections to the kidney occur when bacteria get into the organ from another area in the urinary tract. If other organs (such as the bladder) are infected and left untreated, the infection can spread and cause harm to the kidneys.
Symptoms of kidney infections include:
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in back, side(s) or groin
- Frequent urination or persistently feeling the need to
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Pus or blood in urine
- Urine that has an unusual appearance or odor
Kidney infections are usually treatable if detected early. Your physician will likely prescribe antibiotics and then perform a test to determine next steps.
If left untreated, kidney infections can turn serious, so ensure you are seen right away if you are experiencing any of the symptoms.
As kidneys remove waste from the blood, buildup can occur if there are unusually high levels and your body is unable to produce enough urine to expel it. This causes a crystalized “stone” to form in the kidneys that will grow over time, becoming a painful issue.
Eventually, the body will try to pass the stone through the urinary tract, which can range from uncomfortable to extremely painful depending on the size of the stone. Stones can range from the size of a grain of rice to a golf ball in more severe cases.
You are at particular risk for kidney stones if you have a family history of them, don’t drink enough water, are overweight, or have other urinary conditions.
Small kidney stones can pass through the urinary tract with no intervention, though it might be uncomfortable. Larger kidney stones may require medical intervention.
Symptoms of larger kidney stones include:
- Pain while urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Sharp pain in back or lower abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
It’s important to note that many of these signs can also be symptoms of kidney cancer. If you are experiencing any of these, please contact your physician to learn the cause of the issue.
Kidney Disease (Failure)
Once the kidneys begin to fail, the damage is irreversible, so early detection is key. However, those experiencing kidney failure often don’t feel the symptoms until they become serious. It’s important to understand if you are at risk for kidney failure and seek help to take back your renal health.
Those at risk for kidney disease (failure) include:
- Those with high blood pressure or heart disease
- A family history of kidney disease
- Certain races such as Hispanic or African ancestry
- The elderly
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease appear when it is already too late to stop the damage. The only treatment for kidney disease is a kidney transplant or dialysis. If you are at risk, you need to be screened regularly. Screening for kidney disease involves tests that measure the health of your kidneys and can alert physicians if there is an issue.
The best way to prevent kidney disease is to take control of your health before it causes a problem. Work with your physician to control risk factors (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and unhealthy diets) and get screened early.
Schneck can help you take control of your kidney health
Kidney health is vital to your overall well-being. At First Urology of Schneck, our dedicated team of urologists and advanced practice providers work with patients to help them understand what is causing the symptoms and how to best address them.
The best way to prevent future kidney issues is to understand your options and work towards improving your overall health. If it has been more than a year since your last physical, and you are at high risk for kidney issues, schedule an appointment with your physician and take control of your health.
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