Many of us might not realize how important our kidneys are. They help to eliminate toxins from our body. When these toxins build up, it becomes harder for the body to function properly. There's many signs that our kidneys aren't at their best potential here are 8 of them in this article b
As important as your kidneys are to your health (including your bone health), symptoms of their malfunction can be quite subtle. Yet early detection is crucial for preventing permanent kidney damage, so it’s vital to recognize the signs that something is not right with these detoxification organs.
In today’s post, you’ll learn about eight early warning signs that could mean your kidney function is not up to par, and what to do about it.
Let’s get started!
It’s especially important to pay attention to your kidneys as you get older, because their function tends to decline in the later adult years (more on this later). In fact, and especially as it relates to your bone health, kidney function becomes even more crucial as we advance in years, because they are key players in the acid/alkaline balance in the body.
As Savers know, this balance is at the very heart of the Save Our Bones Program’s drug-free osteoporosis treatment. In addition to balancing the pH, the kidneys also filter out bone-damaging toxins and “decide” which vitamins and minerals need to be excreted or put back into circulation. Unfortunately, osteoporosis drugs have also been implicated in kidney damage, adding yet another compelling reason to avoid them.
As you can see, the kidneys are at the center of your bone health. So it’s vital to keep track of their function.
Fluid retention is a definite sign that something is up with your body’s excretory system. One of the primary ways the kidneys keep your body balanced and deliver nutrients is by regulation of water. If these organs are not functioning well, fluid can accumulate in your tissues. Usually, you notice the swelling at your ankles, feet, face, or hands. Your legs might also swell.
It makes sense to pay attention to urinary output, color and frequency when you’re taking note of your kidney function. After all, producing urine is one of the main things the kidneys do, so if you see any of the following changes, it might signal a kidney problem:
It’s understandable that you’d feel nauseated if your kidneys are letting “garbage” pile up in your system (the term for this phenomenon is “uremia”). Your body feels the need to expel the poisons, which can manifest as nausea and the feeling that you need to vomit. Sometimes, vomiting actually does occur.
Everyone has a day when they feel tired – maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, or ate the wrong foods, or some other temporary factors are at play. But sometimes, fatigue is caused by lack of a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. The main function of EPO is to stimulate the production of red blood cells, and red blood cells carry energizing oxygen to cells throughout your body.
Stressed kidneys do not produce enough EPO, thereby reducing the number of red blood cells and making you feel weak and tired out.
If your kidneys are the cause of leg discomfort or pain, it’s usually located in the back of your legs. It can even migrate to your lower back, and can range from a feeling of muscle tightness to significant pain.
Kidney stones produce severe pain, usually in the back. Pain can also mean a kidney infection, which may be accompanied by a bladder infection as well. In some cases, the kidneys and liver might have cysts, which can be quite painful.
If your kidneys are not removing toxins, they accumulate in your body (uremia). This can cause a metallic taste in your mouth, and produce bad breath. You might also find that food doesn’t taste the same, particularly meats. (This is interesting to note in light of the research we’re going to look at later, which connects a high-meat diet with kidney stress.) This dulls your appetite, which in turn can cause weight loss.
When uric acid and waste products accumulate, the resulting buildup can cause itchy patches on your skin. Rashes are a vague symptom that can be caused by a number of factors; but those that result from kidney malfunction feel “deeper.” Topical treatment doesn’t help very much, because the itch feels like it extends below the skin’s surface. Uric acid-induced rashes can also manifest as little red bumps, not unlike acne.
As I mentioned earlier, your kidneys produce red blood cell-stimulating EPO. Without enough EPO, you can’t make enough red blood cells, which can result in anemia. Anemia can manifest in a myriad of symptoms, including feeling winded and out of breath, feeling chilly even if your surroundings are warm, and dizziness. The reason for all of these symptoms is a systemic lack of oxygen (delivered by red blood cells).
A major culprit of kidney problems is an acidic diet (consumed by the majority of the population). A brand-new study sheds light on the renal problems that can be caused by a high-acid, meat-rich diet.
The study followed 1,500 people with kidney disease for a period of 14 years. Participants who ate a diet high in meat came very close to experiencing complete kidney failure, while those who ate more fruits and vegetables did not even come close to kidney failure. Researchers estimate that an acidic diet can make it three times more likely for your kidneys to fail.1
Says lead study author Dr. Tanushree Banejee,
“Patients with chronic kidney disease may want to pay more attention to diet consumption of acid rich foods to reduce progression to kidney failure…dialysis treatments…may be avoided by adopting a more healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.”1
While the study was conducted on people with kidney disease, we could safely extrapolate the recommendations to those who want to avoid kidney disease and achieve optimal kidney function now, especially as we age.
In fact, additional research points to the actuality of physiological changes in the kidneys as we age. The research notes that a progressive reduction of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal blood flow (RBF) are observed in conjunction with aging. The reason for these phenomena is a decrease in the plasma flow in the glomerulus, a bundle of capillaries that partially form the renal corpuscle.2
In addition, the aging kidneys experience other structural changes, such as a loss of renal mass, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli that constrict or dilate blood vessels. The study concludes with a notable summation:
“…age-related changes in cardiovascular hemodynamics, such as reduced cardiac output and systemic hypertension, are likely to play a role in reducing renal perfusion and filtration. Finally, it is hypothesized that increases in cellular oxidative stress that accompany aging result in endothelial cell dysfunction and changes in vasoactive mediators resulting in increased atherosclerosis, hypertension and glomerulosclerosis.”2
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should see your health practitioner and have a check-up, including tests to assess your kidney function.
And you should also make sure you’re helping your kidneys stay in top shape by doing a thorough cleanse.
Even if you don’t have any of these signs, a systemic cleanse is like a spa day for your kidneys. It helps them get in top shape and avoid damage and disease.
It’s always a good idea to heed early warning signs and treat your kidneys to a cleanse before damage occurs, and it’s particularly important to offset the effects of aging on your renal system.
"Healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables" is their recommendation. Eating the sunlight! To make it even easier for you to be able to cleanse your kidneys we have had a professional herbalist put together our kidney helper tea. If you are experiencing any of those symptoms or just are looking to improve your kidney healthy you can find the kidney helper tea here.