The Kidney Clinic

What You Need to Know about Kidney Failure Symptoms

What You Need to Know about Kidney Failure Symptoms

Kidney failure, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), occurs when kidneys lose their ability to function properly. Recognising the symptoms of kidney failure is crucial for early diagnosis and timely intervention. This comprehensive writeout and blog will delve into the critical symptoms associated with chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. 

Chronic Fatigue

An early indication of kidney failure symptoms is chronic fatigue. Patients often report feeling persistently tired, even after a night’s rest. This unrelenting exhaustion can be attributed to the kidneys’ impaired ability to filter waste and excess fluids from the bloodstream. As toxins accumulate in the body, it can leave individuals feeling drained and lethargic. Fatigue is a prevalent and noteworthy symptom of kidney failure and should not be overlooked.

Feeling Cold for No Reason

Another one of kidney failure symptoms that may raise concern is the sensation of feeling excessively cold, even when the ambient temperature is comfortable. Kidney failure can disrupt the body’s balance of electrolytes and fluids, resulting in temperature dysregulation. Patients with kidney disease may experience a constant chill, which can be puzzling, especially in warm environments.

Shortness of Breath

Kidney failure can lead to the accumulation of excess fluid in the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary edema. Fluid buildup may cause and lead to shortness of breath, mainly when lying down. Patients with kidney disease may find it difficult to breathe comfortably, especially at night. The feeling of breathlessness can be distressing and requires immediate medical attention.

Feeling Faint, Dizzy, or Weak

Kidneys play a pivotal role in regulating blood pressure. In cases of kidney failure, this regulation can become compromised, often resulting in hypertension or high blood pressure. Episodes of feeling faint, dizzy, or weak can occur due to fluctuations in blood pressure. These symptoms should be promptly addressed, as uncontrolled hypertension can exacerbate kidney damage.

Pressure While Urinating

Kidney failure can lead to alterations in urinary patterns. Some individuals may experience pressure or discomfort while urinating. This discomfort can be attributed to the buildup of waste products and fluid retention, which stresses the urinary system. It is essential to note any changes in urination and report them to a healthcare provider.

Foamy or Bubbly Urine

Foamy or bubbly urine can be an alarming sign of kidney failure. This phenomenon often indicates proteinuria, a condition in which excessive protein is excreted or found in the urine. Typically, the kidneys filter out proteins, so their presence in urine suggests impaired kidney function. Proteinuria is a standard marker of kidney damage and should be thoroughly evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Other Possible Symptoms of Kidney Failure

While chronic fatigue, feeling cold, shortness of breath, dizziness, urinary discomfort, and foamy urine are prominent symptoms of kidney failure, other signs may also manifest in individuals at risk of kidney disease. These additional symptoms can include:

► Swelling (Edema): Kidney failure can lead to fluid retention in various body parts, resulting in swelling of the ankles, legs, and even the face.

Decreased Appetite: Patients with kidney failure may experience a reduced appetite, which can contribute to unintended weight loss.

► Nausea and Vomiting: Impaired kidney function can and may lead to the accumulation of waste in the bloodstream, causing nausea and vomiting.

► Metallic Taste: Some individuals with kidney failure report a persistent metallic taste in their mouths, often affecting their sense of taste.

► Itchy Skin: Kidney failure can lead to the buildup of toxins in the bloodstream, which may manifest as itching and dry skin.


Knowing and understanding about kidney failure symptoms is critical to identify the illness early and treat it effectively. Kidney failure symptoms include chronic weariness, inexplicable chilly sensations, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness, urinary pain, and frothy or bubbly urine. If you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, it’s essential to identify them and get medical help immediately, mainly if they occur in combination. The early detection and prompt treatment of renal failure is paramount in preventing the development of kidney diseases such as chronic kidney disease or acute kidney failure. 

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