Poor Kidney Function Symptoms


If your doctor suspects that your kidneys are not functioning properly, he will probably suggest that you have a blood test performed that will measure your creatinine levels. Creatinine is a waste byproduct that is manufactured by the kidneys. If your levels of creatinine are out of normal range, it may denote poor kidney function. The results of the blood test and the symptoms that you are experiencing will all be taken into account when determining a medical treatment plan.

Changes in Urination

Changes in urination are usually the first sign of poor kidney function. Although some urination symptoms can be attributed to other problems such as a kidney or bladder infection, changes that are abnormal should be addressed by a physician. The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that a decrease in urine production or the inability to pass urine can be a telltale sign that the kidneys are malfunctioning.


Kidney problems can sometimes be coupled with secondary conditions such as anaemia. The hormone erythropoietin plays an important role in helping the bone marrow in bones produce red blood cells. Anemia is quite common in patients who have poor kidney function because the kidneys do not produce enough erythropoietin. According to National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC), anaemia is responsible for some of the fatigue that is felt by patients with poor kidney function.

Nausea, Vomiting and Loss of Appetite

Renal under-perfusion, or uremia, is a condition that is associated with poor kidney function. The condition is caused by a build-up of toxic waste materials in the blood. Kidneys that are functioning poorly do not filter the blood properly, thus causing other bodily organs to malfunction and produce toxic byproducts. This scenario can lead to severe stomach upset and nausea. Weight loss is usually a secondary side effect of the uremia.

Skin Changes

According to the American Association of Kidney Patients, poor kidney function can result in skin changes such as hyperpigmentation. The hyperpigmentation condition causes the skin to turn yellow, and parts of the body that are regularly exposed to the sun can change to a deeper yellow--almost orange--appearance. Some patients experience the opposite effect and develop pale skin that bruises easily. Chronic itching due to dry skin is also a symptom of poor kidney function, so applying a daily moisturiser is essential.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are common in patients who are experiencing poor kidney function. When the kidneys do not function properly, bodily fluids and electrolytes can become unbalanced. This imbalance, combined with blood flow problems, can cause muscle cramping, especially in the legs. Davita.com suggests that exercise and massage can help relieve the symptoms of painful muscle cramps. Wearing shoes that are comfortable and provide support can also be helpful for leg cramp sufferers.

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