The kidneys are bean shaped organs that serve several essential regulatory roles. They are essential in the urinary system and also serve homeostatic functions such as the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and regulation of blood pressure (via maintaining salt and water balance).
They serve the body as a natural filter of the blood, and remove water soluble wastes, which are diverted to the urinary bladder. In producing urine, the kidneys excrete wastes such as urea and ammonium, and they are also responsible for the reabsorption of water, glucose, and amino acids.
The kidneys also produce hormones including calcitriol, erythropoietin, and the enzyme renin.
Symptoms of kidney failure
Leg & Back Pain
The most typical sign of chronic kidney disease is lingering pain in the legs and the upper back, close to where the kidneys are situated. You’ll often just feel pain in the side of the affected kidney. The discomfort can be so terrible that it’s been compared to labour pain by affected women.
The kidneys produce urine in order to filter waste out of the body. This means, oftentimes, when the kidneys are jeopardized, urinary urgency may occur frequently in the middle of the night, and you may notice that you have to urinate more often, with increased pressure, and in larger quantities. The pressure may be so strong on your bladder that you feel you can’t squeeze all of the urine out when you go to the bathroom (similar to a urinary tract infection). If the urine contains blood, see a doctor immediately.
As kidneys fail they slow their purpose of fluid elimination from the body. Therefore, this excess fluid pools in your extremities, resulting in swollen legs, hands, ankles, and feet—so much so that you often can’t get shoes or rings on.
Skin irritations—such as acne breakouts and itchy rashes—occur due to the excess waste floating around in your body (the kidneys usually eliminate these via the urine), which may cause signs of excess toxicity on the surface of your skin.
Toxicity (or the increase of wastes that can’t be eliminated via blood or urine) will often result in a general feeling of nausea as well as a lack of appetite and weight loss. In severe cases, vomiting will make it difficult to keep food and nourishment down.
Patients, whose kidneys fail, will often describe a metallic taste (also called Ammonia Breath) that lingers in the mouth in the weeks and months prior to actual kidney failure. This metal flavor is due to uremia (the excess waste bi-product present in the bloodstream).