Warning signs of kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease is called a ‘silent disease’ as there are often no warning signs. It is not uncommon for people to lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before getting any symptoms.

There are, however, some signs that may indicate reduced kidney function and it’s important to take note of them. These can 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.


These symptoms are very general and may be caused by other illnesses. However, if they are related to kidney disease, they may gradually worsen as kidney function declines.

It is important to address any unusual symptoms with your doctor, especially if you have any common risk factors for kidney disease.

How to prevent kidney disease
The best way to prevent kidney disease is to reduce your risk factors. A healthy weight, physical activity, and a low-fat diet can decrease lifestyle-associated causes of chronic kidney disease.

If you have uncontrollable risk factors, such as family history or type 1 diabetes, then you can help prevent chronic kidney disease by seeing your doctor for regular monitoring.

Reducing the amount of salt you eat can also make a difference. Avoid adding salt to your food, and check food labels carefully for sodium content. Refraining from alcohol and quitting smoking can also decrease your risk for chronic kidney disease.

For more information, visit kidney.org.au

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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