A nephrologist specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing kidney issues. Such issues include acute conditions like urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, and chronic kidney disease or CKD. Chronic kidney disease is an issue that worsens over time. It is caused by diabetes or high blood pressure. This issue can result in kidney failure when the kidneys cannot effectively filter waste from the body. In this case, the patient will need a kidney transplant or dialysis. Because chronic kidney disease can be left unnoticed, it is best to see a kidney specialist like Jonathan Pankow, M.D. when you experience kidney-related symptoms.
How to Know You Have Chronic Kidney Disease
People who have risk factors for chronic kidney disease like diabetes, a family history of this disease, and high blood pressure should be aware of the common symptoms of CKD. These symptoms include the following:
- Pain. Your kidneys are found under your rib cage and above your hips. Thus, when you experience pain in such areas, you may have kidney issues, including chronic kidney disease. For instance, kidney stones cause pain, a burning sensation when you urinate, frequent urination, and cloudy urine that has an unpleasant smell.
- Blood in the urine. When you see blood in your urine, you may have a kidney problem. This occurs when your urine changes in color or consistency. It may look cloudy or frothy.
- Fatigue and lack of appetite. The buildup of waste in your body can impact your stomach, resulting in appetite loss. Also, you may feel fatigued and experience nausea. If you have a CKD, you may lose a substantial amount of weight.
- Dry and itchy skin. You can experience dry and itchy skin when you have mineral and bone disease that usually accompanies CKD. This can happen when your kidneys cannot keep the right balance of nutrients and minerals in your blood.
- Lower extremities swelling. With CKD, your kidneys cannot effectively get rid of body waste, leading to fluids pooling and swelling in your legs. Also, your face, eyelids, and lower back may swell.
- Muscle cramps. Imbalances in your electrolyte levels can occur because of impaired kidney function. For instance, uncontrolled phosphorus and low calcium levels can cause muscle cramping.
- Constant urination. CKD can also cause you to urinate more often, particularly at night. But, this symptom can also be associated with urinary tract infection.
See a Nephrologist Immediately
Make sure to visit a kidney doctor when you experience any of these symptoms. Addressing the issue early on can prevent kidney failure.