What Are the Signs of Struggling Kidneys?

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signs of struggling kidneys

A kidney is a bean-shaped organ that is present below the rib cage on either side of the spine. The primary function of a kidney is to filter waste material from the blood and remove it through urine. The term struggling kidneys indicates that the person has a chronic kidney disease.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says that almost 37 million people in the USA have struggling kidneys. The prevention of chronic kidney disease is crucial to managing the overall health.

This blog will give you an understanding of the kidney and its functioning. We will also learn about the signs of struggling kidneys, such as an overactive bladder, and how these signs are diagnosed and treated. Medications like Myrbetriq tablets help manage urine incontinence and overactive bladder.

Understanding Kidneys & Their Functions

A healthy kidney generally filters around a half cup of blood in one minute, expelling wastes and extra fluid to create urine.

How Urine is Carried?

There are two thin muscular tubes called ureters on each side of the bladder. Urine is stored for hours in the bladder (a hollow organ that reserves urine before it is excreted).


The nephrons are filtering units that make up each kidney. There are two parts to each nephron: the glomerulus and the tubule. Nephrons filter the blood in these two steps:

  • Glomerular Filtration: Blood enters the glomerulus, which consists of small blood veins, as it enters each nephron. Smaller molecules, waste products, and fluid pass through the glomerulus’ thin walls and into the tubule (a tube-like part of the nephron that transports urine).

[Glomerulus is the central filtration unit of nephrons comprising capillaries (tiny blood vessels)].

  • The tubule returns necessary components to blood: A blood vessel is present along the side of the tubule. The blood vessel reabsorbs almost all the water, useful nutrients, and essential minerals as the filtered fluid runs along the tubule. The tubule helps in eliminating excess acid from the blood. The extra waste and fluid is excreted in the form of urine.

What Are the Signs of Kidney Diseases

Awareness of the symptoms is crucial, even though checking for late-stage symptoms won’t aid in early detection. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you are at high risk for kidney diseases. Below are some of these significant signs:

  • Alterations in Urination: The urination problems, such as the desire to urinate more frequently (urinary incontinence) or noticing blood in your urine, happen when the kidneys aren’t working correctly. If you have bubbles in your urine, it’s a sign that protein is entering your urine due to damaged kidneys or an overactive bladder.

[Overactive bladder: It is a condition that includes several symptoms, such as the need to urinate more frequently, urinary incontinence, and the need to urinate at night].

  • Excessive Fatigue: You may experience low energy or extreme fatigue due to a buildup of toxins (poisonous substances) in the blood due to impaired kidney function.
  • Difficulty breathing: When your kidneys aren’t draining enough fluid from your body, extra fluid accumulates in your lungs and makes you feel out of breath.
  • Proteinuria: The high protein levels in the urine (proteinuria) are a symptom of kidney disease. Protein enters into your urine if the kidneys aren’t working properly. It can re-enter the blood when the kidneys are healthy.
  • High blood pressure: The elevated blood pressure results from any kidney diseases’ additional fluid and sodium (Na+) buildup. It harms the blood vessels in the kidney and eventually worsens kidney disease.

How Do They Test for Kidney Issues?

The kidney function tests examine how effectively your kidneys remove waste from your body. Now the question arises as to how they test for kidney issues. Two significant types of kidney function tests are performed:

Blood Test (GFR)

A glomerular filtration rate (GFR) test determines how well your kidneys operate as filters. The question is, can a blood test detect kidney issues? Well, healthcare practitioners widely use blood tests to detect kidney diseases. This test involves detecting a waste substance called creatinine in the blood. If your GFR is:

  • Sixty or more than 60, it is normal.
  • Less than 60 indicate issues in the functioning of the kidney.
  • Less than 15 means severe kidney disease.

[Creatinine is a waste substance produced by your body’s regular breakdown of muscles].

Urine Test

Albuminuria, or having too much albumin in your urine, is a symptom of kidney illness. A protein called albumin (generally found in blood) is not found in the urine in a healthy kidney. Some albumin probably leaks into the urine because of a struggling kidney. The albumin can be tested by:

  • Dipstick test: The albumin is tested using a dipstick dipped in urine. The dipstick changes color if there is albumin present in the urine sample.
  • The ratio of Albumin and Creatinine: The ratio of albumin and creatinine is used to tell the albumin amount that is excreted in the last 24 hours. For a healthy male, the ratio of milligrams of albumin for every gram of creatinine must be less than 17 mg/g. For females, it must be less than 25 mg/g.

Treatments For Kidney Disease

Suppose your kidneys become entirely to remove waste and fluid alone. At that time, medications, dialysis or a kidney transplant are required.

Kidney Transplant

It is the surgical treatment in which the kidney of a healthy donor is implanted in your body. It gives you a break from long-term dependency on a dialysis machine. However, it’s not suitable for everyone.

People who are significantly overweight or have active infections have a risk of unsuccessful transplants. They must take immune-suppressing medicines after the transplant to prevent their immune system from fighting the new organ.


Dialysis is used when your kidneys cannot filter out waste and excess fluid from your blood. Dialysis aids in taking over some of the kidneys’ normal duties, enabling the body to operate even while it is experiencing kidney failure. To prevent buildup, these duties include eliminating waste, salt, and extra water and managing blood pressure.


Several medications used to treat high blood pressure, anemia, and lower high cholesterol are used to treat kidney diseases. Your healthcare professionals will prescribe the best medication for your personalized kidney treatment. These medications are easily bought online at the best Canadian online pharmacy.


In conclusion, kidneys filter the waste from the blood, which is excreted through urine. But if your kidney cannot perform this function, it leads to severe diseases due to the impurities in the blood. The question arises as to how I know if my kidneys are struggling.

Understanding signs of struggling kidneys, like change in urination, breathing shortness, high blood pressure, and proteinuria, help in the early detection of these diseases. The doctor recommends kidney implantation or dialysis in case of severe kidney diseases.

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