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Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD)

As your kidney function decreases, you may experience some of the following symptoms: 

  • Feeling very tired 
  • Nausea and vomiting  
  • Swelling in hands, feet, ankles, or face 
  • Weight loss or gain 
  • Hard time sleeping 
  • Itchy skin 
  • Hard to breath/shortness of breath  
  • Changes in how much you urinate or having foam in your urine 
  • Hard to focus or concentrate 
  • Muscle twitches and cramps 
  • Bad taste in your mouth 
  • High blood pressure that is hard to control  

Not everyone will have symptoms. Some people may only feel some of them or no symptoms. Some patients put off coming to education classes or getting the recommended treatment because the disease can be such a slow progression. Some people forgot how “good” feels. They get used to this new lower level becomes their “new normal.” Sometimes it is not until you start dialysis or get a transplant that you realize how bad you were feeling. 

What can I do about CKD? 

CKD cannot be cured, but it can be treated. If detected early, you may be able to slow the progression of the disease. 

It is in your best interest to: 

  • Attend all your doctor’s appointments. 
  • Bring someone with you to your appointments.  
  • “Speak Up” — ask questions and share any concerns you have with your care team.  
  • Be open and honest with your doctor about how you feel, so that they can help you.  
  • Keep your blood sugar in control if you have diabetes.  
  • Keep your blood pressure controlled if you have high blood pressure  
  • Lower your risk of heart attack and stroke; people with CKD are at risk of heart and vascular problems.  
  • Take all medicines that your doctor prescribes.  
  • Discuss any side effects with your doctor. Do not stop taking a medicine without talking with your doctor.  
  • Be physically activity. Ask your doctor for the right exercise plan for you.  
  • Follow your prescribed diet. Changes to your diet can slow the progression of CKD.  
  • Learn all you can about CKD so you are able to make the best decisions for you.