Several parts of your body can be affected by kidney disease symptoms and these symptoms can be caused either by the kidney disease itself or by its treatment (for example side effects of analysis of medications). Most of the symptoms could be experienced by people on dialysis as well as those opting for supportive care. It usually affects different people in different ways.
The ability to manage your symptoms efficiently will help improve your quality of life. There are several treatments available for most symptoms and you shouldn’t hesitate to speak with your health care provider when there is a symptom that is affecting you.
They might enjoin you to regularly complete a symptom assessment and quality of life survey for them to help monitor the frequency and severity of the symptoms. The following are some of the more common symptoms that people often experience with end stage kidney disease. If you are feeling any of the symptoms, consult your medical doctor to help investigate further and suggest treatment or ways that will help manage your symptoms.
1. Anaemia: This happen when there is insufficient amount of red blood cells in the blood. The importance of red blood cells is to transport oxygen around the body to be used as energy. The presence of anaemia will make you feel tired, cold, dizzy, sad, and confused or feel a shortness of breath. There are several treatments available such as medication as well as diet modification.
2. Absence of energy: Kidney failure can make you feel tired for different reasons which could vary from one person to another. Some causes include poor sleep, depression; uraemia and heart disease deserve different investigations and treatment. There may be simple changes you can make that will help improve your energy levels. Some people realize that their energy levels improve once they start treatment for kidney disease.
3. Change of taste, bad breath, or dry mouth: When there is decrease in kidney function, wastes will build up in your blood. It is known as uraemia. Uraemia can lead to a metal-like taste in your mouth and bad breath. It can also lead to a loss of appetite as foods can change in taste. Another common symptom of reduced kidney function is dry mouth. However, it can be treated with the use of saline spray, ice, or chewing gum if appropriate.
4. Itchy skin: Itchy skin is another common symptom for people experiencing kidney disease. Chemical imbalances and changes to nerves and dry skin are responsible for this symptom. Medication and skin creams could help you out. You can also speak with your pharmacist about other effective products that can treat the symptom.
5. Sleeping problems: There could be several reasons associated to having trouble getting to sleep or have difficulty sleeping throughout the night. Some possible reasons are pain, restless legs, low mood, difficulty breathing or snoring. In case you are experiencing problems with sleep, consult your health care team as several treatments could be recommended.
6. Shortness of breath: Experiencing trouble catching your breath could be due to anaemia or from extra fluid building up in your lungs. Medications can be prescribed to help reduce fluid retention and to treat anaemia.
7. Constipation and diarrhea: Poor kidney function can lead to bowel problems such as constipation and diarrhea. It can cause stomach discomfort which includes pain, bloating, gas and nausea. However, a renal dietitian or renal nurse can help you suggest how to safely increase the fiber in your diet. Simple physical activity such as walking can help relieve discomfort.
8. Pain: There could be different causes for body pain but it is also common for people with kidney disease. The pain could be around your muscles, bones or joints which include arthritis, nerve pain such as pain in the feet, calves and hands that may happen with diabetes, or headaches. You can successfully relieve the pain with medication. Meanwhile, it is necessary for you to discuss pain management with your health care team as there are some medications that aren’t apt for people with kidney disease.
9. Hair loss: The hair can break out easily if there is a low level of protein or zinc, thyroid problems, medication side-effects or changes in dialyzers. Ensure you are getting enough nutrients in your diet every day and treating your hair gently can also help prevent further damage.