Signs You May Have Chronic Kidney Disease
By Brett Rosenthal, DO, Nephrologist — Virtua Nephrology
Is your blood pressure creeping up? Are your socks leaving marks on your legs—long after taking them off for the day? Do you have to run to the bathroom more than you used to?
These are not just signs of aging, or the victim of the heavy meal you just ate. You may be in the early stages of chronic kidney disease, or CKD.
Know the Symptoms of CKD
CKD is the gradual loss of kidney function. Because the damage may take years, your kidneys are able to cope without producing any noticeable effects. That makes it easy to attribute anything you do feel to another condition, or to simply ignore them.
Don’t let these symptoms go. Early signs of CKD may include:
- Swelling, or edema, in your legs, feet, or ankles as the body is unable to get rid of extra fluid and salt
- Higher blood pressure
- Changes in urination habits, peeing more or less than normal
- Higher protein levels in urine
- Blood or excessive bubbles in urine
- Urinary tract infections
Later on, you also may experience:
- Dry or itchy skin
- Muscle cramps
- Lower back pain (usually as a result of a kidney infection)
- Unexplained weight loss
What to Do if You Have Kidney Disease Symptoms
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider. They will order an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) screening. This is a blood test that measures your creatinine levels and your kidneys’ ability to filter toxins and other wastes.
In adults, a normal eGFR is more than 90. An eGFR of at least 60 and a finding of protein in your urine could mean you have stage 1 or 2 kidney disease. An eGFR of lower than 60 indicates you have stages 3 to 5 kidney disease, and should be treated by a nephrologist.
The earlier you begin treatment, the greater steps your doctor can take to maintain your kidney health and prevent more severe symptoms
Take the Next Step for Your Kidney Health
If you are concerned about your kidney health, take our quick and easy Kidney Health Risk Assessment.
To schedule an appointment with a Virtua kidney specialist, call 856-325-3341 or request an appointment here.
Updated August 21, 2023