The kidneys are among the most important organs in your body, responsible for filtering waste, producing red blood cells, and even keeping your bones strong and sturdy. But despite the many vital roles they play in maintaining a healthy, high-functioning body, it can be hard to determine when these bean-shaped organs aren’t operating at full capacity—especially in the early stages of certain kidney problems. In fact, according to Cynthia Smith, a nurse practitioner with Renal Consultants, approximately “one in three Americans are at risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD)” and “fewer than 50 percent of those with severe CKD know they have a problem.” With that in mind, we’ve compiled the 20 most common—and debilitating—signs you may have a kidney problem. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately to address the issue.
One of the first noticeable signs you might have a kidney issue is having back pain. Since your kidneys are actually higher up in your abdomen underneath your ribcage, a kidney infection can cause intense pain in the middle to upper back area, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Depending on the severity of the infection, this pain can also spread to the abdomen and groin.
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