The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located near the middle of the back, just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Normal functioning kidneys serve the body in several very important ways, like:
Clean your blood and remove waste products
Balance water and salt to control fluid in the body
Control blood pressure
Help make red blood cells and strong bones
Control the amount of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in the blood
Kidney Failure Symptoms
The symptoms of kidney failure vary widely by cause of the kidney failure, severity of the condition, and the other body systems that are affected.
Most people have no kidney failure symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease, because the kidneys are able to compensate so well for the early impairments in their function. Others have symptoms that are mild, subtle, or vague.
Generally, obvious kidney failure symptoms appear only when the condition has become severe or even critical.
Kidney failure is not painful, even when severe, although there may be pain from damage to other systems.
Some types of kidney failure cause fluid retention. However, severe dehydration (fluid deficiency) can also cause kidney failure.
Fluid retention – Puffiness, swelling of arms and legs, shortness of breath (due to fluid collection in the lungs, called pulmonary edema)
Dehydration – Thirst, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), dry mucous membranes (such as inside the mouth and nose), feeling weak or lethargic.
Other common symptoms of kidney failure and end-stage renal disease include the following:
Urinating less than usual
Urinary problems – Frequency, urgency
Bleeding – Due to impaired clotting, from any site