While you don’t need perfect kidney function to be healthy and active, anything that causes the kidneys to stop working properly can have a significant effect on your health, energy levels and quality of life.
It is estimated that 15% of the adult population have some degree of kidney disease, this number increasing to 45% for people aged 75 and over.
Kidney disease is often silent in the early stages, only causing symptoms in its more advanced stages. Common symptoms of advanced kidney disease include:
- Passing urine at night more frequently
- Fluid retention
- Bone pain
Earlier stages of kidney disease may be identified on a blood test, which may be done for some other reason or by a simple dipstick test of the urine.
Unfortunately, it can be quite easy to dismiss the symptoms of kidney disease, with many people thinking they’re just a bit under the weather or that it must be a natural part of ageing.
Many kidney diseases cannot be cured, but treatments are available to help manage your symptoms and to prevent further damage to the kidneys. Depending on severity, treatment may be by:
- Dialysis – either haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, to filter waste from the blood when the kidneys are no longer able to effectively do so
- Kidney transplant
If you have any symptoms that are concerning you, it is sensible to see an expert in kidney health.