When most people wake up in the morning, it normally takes them at least few minutes to actually “wake up.” For some people, it is a warm shower, for others, a rich cup of coffee. However, while most of us have our own little rituals that help us get our day started, in reality, your body is awake and busy long before you wake up – in fact, it doesn’t stop working.
When we go through our day to day lives, behind the scenes (more specifically, behind the skin) there is a plethora of activity going on. However, while every organ is important to our body’s performing as they should, human beings have five vital organs that are essential for survival.
The brain is the control center of the body, sending and receiving signal signals to and from the organs via the nervous system and secreted hormones. The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout our body, acting as a highway for oxygen and hormones to travel. The lungs are responsible for removing oxygen from the air we breathe and transferring it to our blood where it can be sent to our cells. The lungs also remove carbon dioxide, which we exhale. And the liver is a multi-functioning organ that detoxifies harmful chemicals, breaks down drugs, filters blood, secretes bile as well as produces invaluable blood-clotting proteins. And finally the kidney, which….well….do you know what the kidneys do?
Considering it is a vital organ, most people are unfamiliar with exactly what the job of the kidney is – which is a shame, considering how much this unsung hero of the body does. Your kidneys act as a filter to remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Your kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood each day to make about 1 to 2 quarts of urine. The kidneys also help to control blood pressure by control fluid levels and secreting the hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict. Your kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin, which tells bone marrow to make red blood cells. It also helps to maintain healthy bones by creating an active form of vitamin D that allows bones to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Lastly, the kidneys help to maintain a healthy balance of the chemicals that control acid levels, leaving your pH levels in a healthy state. All and all, it’s a pretty impressive resumé when you consider everything these two little fist-sized organs do. But what happens when the kidneys don’t do what they are supposed?
Kidney disease means that the kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood like they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body. It can also cause other problems that can harm your health including high blood pressure. For most people, kidney damage occurs slowly over many years, often due to diabetes or high blood pressure, and as a result, many people don’t notice the symptoms until it is too late. And usually, that is because people don’t know what symptoms to be on the lookout for.
With public health always on the forefront, we have spoken to the doctors, talked to the experts and compiled a list of some of the most common signs and symptoms of kidney disease. For when it comes to treating any one of your vital organs, the earlier you receive treatment can often mean the difference between life and death.
Have you ever gotten to the office, only to discover that the elevator is out of order and you are forced to take the stairs - all 6 flights? Or maybe you have returned from the grocery store on a hot summer's day, only to discover that nobody is home to help you and you have to carry them all in yourself - over 4 trips? Although the details will vary, in all likelihood you have had to do something that leaves you if ever so slightly out of breath; which is normal. However, if you find yourself short of breath when you haven't really put forth any effort, then it may be an issue for concern.
Shortness of breath can relate to your kidney health in two ways. First, it is possible for excess fluid to build up in the body and eventually make its way to the lungs. Secondly, anemia (as we have touched on before) can easily leave your body starved for oxygen, resulting in the aforementioned shortness of breath.
While we understand that many of the symptoms on this list are common and in and of themselves no cause for alarm, we urge you to view these particular symptoms holistically, as often it is only through a collection of symptoms that a proper diagnosis can be made.