top of page

8 Signs of kidney disease

How Many People Have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

  • About 10 to 15 percent of the U.S. adult population has CKD. In other words, one in every nine American adults has CKD.

8 Signs of Kidney Disease

  • Decreased urine output.

  • Fluid retention, causing swelling in your legs, ankles or feet.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Fatigue.

  • Confusion.

  • Nausea.

  • Weakness.

  • Irregular heartbeat.

The above signs can also be caused by other conditions so it's important to see your doctor.

What Kind of Doctor Specializes in Kidneys?


  • Sometimes called renal medicine, nephrology is a specialty within the internal medicine field related to kidney care.

  • Nephrologists are medical professionals who diagnose, treat, and manage acute (sudden onset) and chronic kidney problems and diseases.

  • The nephrologist will determine your best course of treatment including if you need dialysis. If you have kidney disease, it's important to see a nephrologist.

What Kind of Over the Counter Medicines Damage Kidneys?


Diabetes: high blood sugar damages the millions of tiny filtering units within each kidney.

High blood pressure: uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden. These damaged arteries are not able to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissue. Damaged kidney arteries do not filter blood well.

Heart disease: when the heart is no longer pumping efficiently it becomes congested with blood, causing pressure to build up in the main vein connected to the kidneys, leading to congestion of blood in the kidneys, too.

Smoking: Slows blood flow to the kidney and elevates blood pressure.

Obesity: the kidneys have to work harder, filtering above the normal level, to meet the metabolic demands of increased body mass in individuals with obesity.

  • Obesity is a body mass of 30 or greater. Example: 5’, 6” male who weighs 185+ pounds is obese. If the male weighed 150 lbs., he would be considered overweight.

Genes: Kidney disease is more prevalent in Black, Native American or Asian American populations.

Family history of kidney disease: usually caused by a harmful gene.


  • If you develop a Urinary Tract Infection, see your doctor right away because this type of infection can lead to kidney damage if untreated.

Foods to Avoid if You Have Kidney Disease

Dark-Colored Soda:

Why? Dark-colored soda contains phosphorus in its additive form, which is easily absorbed into your body.

Unlike natural phosphorus, phosphorus in the form of additives is not bound to protein. Rather, it’s found in the form of salt and is highly absorbable by the intestinal tract.

AVOID High Sodium & Hi Protein Diet

  • Avoid Canned Foods: Why? contain high amounts of sodium, as salt is added as a preservative to increase its shelf life.

  • Draining and rinsing canned foods for 3 minutes, such as green beans, cottage cheese and tuna, can decrease sodium content by 33–80%, (depending on the product).

  • How Much Protein is, OK? Three-ounce portion sizes of meat, fish or chicken. (Size of a deck of cards).


Why? Potassium puts stress on your kidneys, so it must be limited in a kidney disease diet.

Foods High in Potassium: melons, bananas, oranges, prunes and tomatoes, both eaten and in juices.

Potassium is also higher in dairy products, avocados, bran, beans, lentils and nuts.

AVOID Alcoholic Drinks


Alcohol is dehydrating to your body and this can adversely affect how your kidneys filter out toxins.

If you have kidney disease You can eat these Lower-potassium foods

} apples

} grapes

} strawberries

} cauliflower

} white breads

} Pita bread

} chicken

} white rice

(See a nutritionist if you have kidney disease for proper guidance).

How Exercise Affects Kidneys

If the benefits of exercise came in a pill, everyone would take it!

Although not a cure for kidney disease, exercise can reduce further kidney damage by keeping the rest of the body functioning at peak levels and improve quality-of-life.

Exercise improves muscle function, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, helps keep a healthy body weight, and improves sleep.

If you are on dialysis, it's important to do the exercise before your appointment because after dialysis, you will be tired.

Best Exercise for Kidneys

A study emphasized aquatic exercise as a preferred method to improve kidney function because the improved circulation from water aerobics increases the rate blood is filtered through the kidneys. Check out the Arthritis Water Therapy DVD as Seen on PBS TV and featured in the news. (News article below).


Effect of water rinsing on sodium content of selected foods -


bottom of page