Symptoms of kidney diseases vary from person to person. A lot depends on the type of underlying disease and its severity. Often symptoms are general and vague, and therefore the disease is not diagnosed in the early stages.
Common symptoms of kidney diseases :
• Swelling of the face
Swelling of face, feet and abdomen, is a frequent presentation of kidney disease. Characteristic of swelling due to kidney disease is that it starts from the face below the eyelids and is most noticeable in the morning.
Kidney failure is a common and important cause of swelling. But one needs to bear in mind that swelling does not necessarily indicate kidney failure. In certain kidney diseases despite normal kidney function swelling occurs (e.g. nephrotic syndrome). Equally important fact to bear in mind is that swelling may not be seen at all in a few patients with significant kidney failure.
• Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
Loss of appetite, abnormal taste in the mouth and poor food intake are common problems faced by a person with renal failure. With worsening of kidney failure, due to increased level of toxic substances, a person develops nausea, vomiting and hiccups.
• High blood pressure – Hypertension
In patients with kidney failure hypertension is common. If hypertension occurs at a young age (less than 30 years) or blood pressure is very high at the time of diagnosis, the reason may be kidney problem.

• Anemia and weakness
Generalized weakness, early fatigue, poor concentration in work and pallor are common complaints of a person with anemia (low hemoglobin level). At times these may be the only complaints of a person in the early stages of chronic kidney failure. If anemia does not respond to standard treatment, it is essential to rule out kidney failure.
• Nonspecific complains
Low back pain, body ache, itching and leg cramps are frequent complains in kidney disease. Retardation of growth, short stature and bending of leg bones are common in children with kidney failure.
• Urinary complains
Common urinary complains are :

  1. Reduction in urine volume, which causes swelling, is very common in various kidney diseases.
  2. Burning sensation in urine, frequent urination and passing of blood or pus in urine are symptoms of urinary tract infection.
  3. Obstruction to flow of urine can lead to difficulty and straining in ‘voiding’ (passing urine), poor stream of urine or drop to drop voiding. In severe conditions, complete inability to pass urine is not uncommon. Although a person may have some of the above mentioned symptoms and signs, it does not necessarily mean that the person is suffering from kidney disease. However, in the presence of such symptoms, it is highly recommended to consult the doctor and to rule out any possibility of kidney disease by tests and checkups.
    It is important to remember that serious kidney problem may exist silently for a long period without significant symptoms and signs.