4 Warning Signs Of Kidney Failure

Kidney disease rarely presents any signs in the early stages. It must be at a relatively advanced stage before any of the below symptoms appear.

The earliest sign of kidney disease is an atypical level of creatinine or urea in your blood. This leads to a condition called uremia.

A basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a blood test often ordered as part of a routine physical exam. The test allows healthcare providers to detect any atypical levels of these two chemicals.

Other than blood test results, a number of physical signs can indicate kidney disease.

Concerns with urination

Kidney function is closely tied to urine production. Concerning signs include urinating more or less frequently than normal, especially at night. People also experience:

  • pain or burning while urinating
  • a decrease in their amount of urine production
  • cloudy, foamy, or discolored urine

Blood in your urine

Blood in your urine is also known as hematuria. This can be a sign of several conditions and should be investigated immediately by your healthcare provider.


Your kidneys remove excess fluid from your blood. When this doesn’t occur, that fluid builds up in your body. This causes swelling in your:

  • ankles
  • legs
  • feet
  • hands
  • face

Swelling can also occur in your lungs. This can cause shortness of breath. Another sign is swelling or puffiness around your eyes.

Back pain


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You can feel kidney pain in your back or sides, usually in the middle of your back just below your rib cage.

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