While you want to rely on the professionalism of medical personnel, you still have to watch out for errors in a medical setting. Education about specific illnesses can help in this matter and potentially alert you to concerns.
A better understanding of kidney functions and disease could help in some situations.
The role of healthy kidneys
WebMD highlights the many essential functions of kidneys, including the removal of waste products from the bloodstream. This happens in many conditions such as during digestion and after taking medications. Other central functions of kidneys include the following:
- Balancing water and minerals in the blood
- Making renin for blood pressure control
- Producing an active form of vitamin D for bone health
- Making erythropoietin for red blood cell production
Kidney disease happens when any of these functions fail to work. This can lead to a host of symptoms and eventually to acute renal failure, a life-threatening condition.
The symptoms of kidney disease
Many subtle symptoms indicate the presence of kidney disease. In the early stages, the symptoms can manifest as loss of appetite, weakness, fatigue, high blood pressure and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include a metallic taste in the mouth, chest pain, vomiting and swelling in the feet and ankles. At this point, your doctor might suggest a diagnosis.
The steps for a kidney disease diagnosis
This process might begin with questions about your medical history. It will then proceed to a series of tests of blood and urine as well as imaging and a biopsy. A timely diagnosis remains critical for kidney patients. Understanding the factors that lead to a delayed diagnosis can lead to better outcomes for individuals suffering from kidney disease.