Your kidneys are constantly clearing excess fluid, minerals and impurities from your blood, which are then eliminated through the urine.
They keep a proper balance of water and electrolytes in the blood. They manufacture hormones that keep your blood and bones healthy.
If one or both of your kidneys should stop working properly, waste products recirculate through the body. Excess fluids and toxins build up.
Blood pressure elevates. Red blood cells decrease. Appetite decreases, accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and debilitating fatigue sets in.
These can be signs of kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), renal insufficiency, or renal failure.
Chronic kidney failure develops gradually over a long period of time. Hands and feet may become numb, and may swell from fluid retention.
The skin may itch. The need to urinate may be frequent, but producing little output. Muscles may cramp and twitch. Sores may appear in the mouth. Body temperature may be low.
The skin tone may be a yellow-brown. The patient may suffer from shortness of breath. As symptoms worsen, they may experience seizures and ultimately coma.
Other health problems can emerge long before kidney failure occurs.
For example, if the kidneys stop producing enough erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that tells the bones to make red blood cells, anemia can develop.
If the kidneys don't keep calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood in balance, bones are weakened.
Being alert to the symptoms of these conditions above, and acting on them quickly and effectively, may help reduce the risk of experiencing kidney failure.
People with diabetes can be at risk of kidney disease. This can occur in 30 - 40% of those with Type 1 diabetes, and in 20 - 30% of those with Type 2 diabetes.
High blood sugar can cause damage to filters in the kidneys (nephrons).
Kidney failure can be delayed or prevented by managing your blood glucose (blood sugar). If proper blood glucose management is started earlier enough, much damage can be prevented.
Extremely high blood pressure (hypertension) can damage the kidneys' blood vessels.