Kidney disease is a condition that affects more than half of seniors over the age of 75. But, it’s not something that seniors or their families think about a lot. Kidney disease is progressive. If seniors are regularly screened for kidney disease doctors may be able to diagnose and treat kidney disease before it becomes debilitating. Consider getting senior home care services so that your senior parent has a home care provider with them during the day.
If your senior parent has any of these ten common symptoms of kidney disease in seniors they should be screened by a doctor right away:
Changes in Urination
It’s common for seniors to need to go to the bathroom more as they get older. But, if your senior parent starts going more frequently suddenly or has other changes in urination that could be a concern. A senior home care provider can help document any symptoms of kidney disease that your senior parent is having.
Fatigue and Weakness
Kidney disease can cause anemia, a condition characterized by a reduced number of red blood cells. Seniors who develop anemia may have fatigue, weakness, and a general feeling of lethargy. If these symptoms appear and don’t go away after a week, your senior parent should see a doctor. They may have a UTI, or they may have kidney disease.
Swelling or Edema
The kidneys play a crucial role in regulating fluid balance in the body. When they are not functioning optimally, excess fluid can build up, leading to swelling in the extremities, particularly in the ankles and legs. Some swelling in the feet and legs is common in sedentary seniors, but if the swelling is extreme or comes on suddenly a doctor should see it. Seniors should also be more active to help reduce swelling and improve circulation.
Itchy Skin or Rashes
Kidney dysfunction can cause a buildup of waste products in the blood, leading to skin-related symptoms such as persistent itching. Dry and irritated skin, often accompanied by a feeling of unrelieved itchiness could be caused by kidney issues.
High Blood Pressure
Kidneys help regulate blood pressure by controlling the balance of salt and water in the body. Chronic kidney disease can contribute to hypertension or make existing high blood pressure worse. Senior home care providers can routinely monitor your senior parent’s blood pressure and report any changes.
Loss of Appetite
Seniors with kidney disease may experience a loss of appetite, leading to weight loss or malnutrition. Seniors often eat very little and maybe malnourished, but if your senior parent usually eats well and stops because they have no appetite, that’s a cause for concern.
Kidney disease can impact cognitive function and lead to difficulty concentrating or memory problems, and overall cognitive impairment. Seniors may experience mental fogginess and a decline in their ability to focus on tasks.
Muscle Cramps and Weakness
Electrolyte imbalances associated with kidney dysfunction can lead to muscle cramps and weakness. Seniors may notice persistent muscle pain or discomfort, particularly in the legs. Electrolyte drinks can help balance the electrolytes and eliminate cramps, but your senior parent still needs to see a doctor if they have persistent cramps or weakness in their limbs.
Shortness of Breath
The kidneys play a role in producing red blood cells and removing excess fluid from the body. When kidney function is compromised, it can result in anemia and fluid buildup in the lungs, contributing to shortness of breath.
Nausea and Vomiting
As waste products accumulate in the body due to impaired kidney function, seniors with kidney disease may experience nausea and vomiting. If this happens to your senior parent they need to be seen by a doctor immediately. The toxins building up in their body because of decreased kidney function could cause serious health problems.