What are the symptoms and treatment options for renal disease?

Symptom Database

Renal disease, also known as kidney disease, is a condition that affects the functioning of the kidneys. The kidneys play a crucial role in maintaining overall health by filtering waste products and excess fluids from the blood, regulating blood pressure, and producing hormones that stimulate red blood cell production. When the kidneys are damaged or not functioning properly, it can lead to various symptoms and complications. In this article, we will explore the symptoms and treatment options for renal disease.

Symptoms of Renal Disease

Renal disease can manifest with a range of symptoms, which may vary depending on the severity and underlying cause of the condition. Some common symptoms of renal disease include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet
  • Changes in urine output (increased or decreased)
  • Blood in the urine
  • Foamy or bubbly urine
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Treatment Options for Renal Disease

The treatment options for renal disease depend on the underlying cause, the stage of the disease, and the individual’s overall health. Here are some common treatment approaches:

Lifestyle Modifications

For individuals with early-stage renal disease or those at risk of developing kidney problems, certain lifestyle modifications can help slow down the progression of the disease and maintain kidney health. These include:

  • Following a balanced and healthy diet: Limiting salt, potassium, and phosphorus intake can help reduce the workload on the kidneys. It is advisable to consult a dietitian for personalized dietary recommendations.
  • Staying hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water can help flush out toxins and maintain proper kidney function.
  • Quitting smoking: Smoking can worsen kidney damage and increase the risk of kidney disease progression.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in physical activity can help control blood pressure, manage weight, and improve overall health.
  • Avoiding over-the-counter medications: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can be harmful to the kidneys. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before taking any medications.


In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms and slow down the progression of renal disease. Commonly prescribed medications include:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs): These medications help lower blood pressure and reduce proteinuria, a common complication of renal disease.
  • Diuretics: Diuretics help remove excess fluid from the body and can be beneficial for individuals with fluid retention.
  • Erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs): ESAs stimulate the production of red blood cells and may be prescribed to manage anemia associated with renal disease.
  • Phosphate binders: These medications help control phosphorus levels in the blood, which can be elevated in renal disease.


In advanced stages of renal disease, when the kidneys are no longer able to adequately perform their functions, dialysis may be necessary. Dialysis is a procedure that involves the removal of waste products and excess fluids from the blood using a machine. There are two main types of dialysis:

  • Hemodialysis: In hemodialysis, blood is filtered outside the body through a dialysis machine and then returned to the body.
  • Peritoneal dialysis: Peritoneal dialysis involves the use of the peritoneum, a membrane in the abdomen, to filter waste products from the blood.

Kidney Transplant

In some cases, a kidney transplant may be considered as a treatment option for renal disease. A kidney transplant involves surgically replacing a diseased kidney with a healthy kidney from a donor. This procedure can offer a better quality of life and improved long-term outcomes for individuals with end-stage renal disease.

It is important to note that not all cases of renal disease can be cured. However, with appropriate treatment and management, it is possible to slow down the progression of the disease, alleviate symptoms, and improve overall quality of life.

In conclusion, renal disease is a condition that affects the functioning of the kidneys and can lead to various symptoms and complications. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of renal disease and seek medical attention if any of these symptoms are experienced. Treatment options for renal disease include lifestyle modifications, medications, dialysis, and kidney transplant. By following a healthy lifestyle and adhering to the recommended treatment plan, individuals with renal disease can manage their condition effectively and improve their overall renal health.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
Add a comment