A kidney doctor, or nephrologist, specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of kidney problems.
These problems include acute conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney stones as well as chronic kidney disease. A problem that tends to worsen over time, chronic kidney disease is most often caused by high blood pressure and/or diabetes. Chronic kidney disease can ultimately lead to kidney failure (or end-stage renal disease), when the kidneys become unable to effectively filter waste from the body. This is when dialysis or a kidney transplant may be needed.
Signs & Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
What makes chronic kidney disease particularly sinister is that many people do not know that they have it until it’s too late. Often, its signs and symptoms are ignored or go unnoticed until the disease is in its advanced stages. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of its symptoms – especially if you have risk factors for the disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney disease, or if you regularly take drugs (NSAIDs, proton-pump-inhibitors) that can damage your liver.
The following are signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease. If you experience these, or if you have any concerns about your kidney health, you should make an appointment to see your kidney doctor.
You have two kidneys that are located in your flanks – one on either side of your spine, just under your rib cage and above your hips. So, pain in these areas could indicate any number of problems with your kidneys, not just chronic kidney disease. Kidney stones, for example, cause pain, frequent urination, a burning sensation when peeing, and cloudy urine with an unpleasant smell.
Change in Urine Quantity
If your hydration habits have not changed and yet the amount you urinate has changed, such as peeing more or less than usual, it could point to a kidney problem.
Blood in Urine
Seeing blood in your urine could indicate a kidney problem. Remember that urine in the blood is in diluted form, so don’t look out for red urine but a change in the color or consistency of your urine. It may appear frothy or cloudy.
Swelling in Your Lower Extremities
With kidney disease, your kidneys become unable to effectively remove waste from the body, which results in the pooling of fluids and swelling in your legs. You should also pay attention to swelling of your eyelids, face, and lower back.
Lack of Appetite, Fatigue, and Weight Loss
The waste buildup in your body could begin to affect your stomach and make you lose your appetite. You may also feel fatigued and experience brain fog or nausea. Some patients end up vomiting due to their nausea symptoms. With kidney disease, you may lose a significant amount of weight.
If you experience any of these symptoms, please visit a kidney doctor. You want to address the issue before it becomes kidney failure.
Top Kidney Doctors in Massachusetts
The compassionate kidney doctors at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates provide exceptional medical care to patients with kidney problems, including kidney disease at every stage.
We offer an aggressive approach to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease. The earlier you come to us, the better your chances of extending your life and improving your quality of life.