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5 Early Signs of Kidney Disease

The kidneys are some of the most vital organs in the human body. Simply put, the primary duty of the kidneys is to clean and remove waste from the blood.

Kidney disease is a serious condition that threatens the body’s overall function and wellness. When the kidneys gradually weaken overtime, it can lead to kidney failure, which can lead to the fatal end stage renal disease.

It may be difficult to spot the first signs of kidney disease. However, early detection and intervention can significantly improve managing kidney disease and preventing future complications.

Chart of common kidney disease symptoms.

Graphic from Very Well Health

Change in Urination Patterns

A change in urination patterns is one of the earliest signs of kidney disease, yet it is often overlooked. These changes may include:

  • Increased urination

  • Decreased urination

  • Foam or bubbles in urine (may indicate proteinuria)

  • Blood in urine (may indicate hematuria)

  • Dark urine

See the chart below to see what different colors of urine may mean.

Chart of urine colors.

Pain During Urination

Another early sign of kidney disease is pain during urination. Any kind of pain or burning sensation during urination can indicate a kidney infection. Furthermore, persistent urinary tract infections (UTIs) may potentially lead to kidney damage if left untreated.


Also known as edema, swelling is another early sign of kidney disease. Because the kidneys cannot effectively eliminate excess fluids from the body, swelling may occur in the feet, ankles, hands, or face. Retaining these fluids leads to noticeable puffiness, which may show the kidneys are not performing at their optimal capacity.

Chronic Weakness & Fatigue

If you’re constantly feeling tired and weak, it may be a sign of kidney disease. Improper kidney function can lead to an accumulation of waste in the bloodstream. This can lead to anemia (low red blood cell count), resulting in decreased oxygen transport. Physically, this will manifest as feelings of fatigue, lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating.

A man holding his lower back.

Back Pain

The kidneys are located underneath the ribcage on either side of the spine. Sudden, persistent back pain might be a sign of kidney disease. Back pain is more in the lower back, though trouble with kidneys results in deeper pain higher on the back. The pain may migrate to the abdomen or groin.

Read more about how to tell the difference between kidney pain and back pain here.

What should I do if I’m experiencing signs of kidney disease?

It’s important to note that these signs individually may not always point directly to kidney disease, or may be related to other health issues. Although if you or a loved one is experiencing multiple or all of these signs, please seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Get in touch with a certified kidney doctor and specialist such as Dr. Prince Singh by emailing or calling 507-316-3907.

Regular health check ups and paying mind to bodily changes are essential to maintain your kidney health and overall well being.

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