Sometimes back pain can be a sign of a much more serious condition.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 26 million Americans have kidney disease and 1 in 3 American adults is currently at risk for developing the disease. In the United States, kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer (1).
Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of kidney failure and being 60 or older.
Additional risk factors include kidney stones, smoking, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Why Kidneys Are Important
Kidneys don’t just filter the blood of toxins, they also clear extra fluid from the body, manage electrolyte levels, regulates blood hormone levels, regulates blood pressure, makes new red blood cells and keeps your bones strong. Kidneys are so efficient that it’s possible to survive with just one (2).
The first signs of kidney failure include (3):
- Fatigue, weakness
- Difficult, painful urination
- Foamy urine
- Pink, dark urine (blood in urine)
- Increased need to urinate (especially at night)
- Puffy eyes
- Increased thirst
Perhaps one of the most dangerous side effects of unhealthy kidneys is edema, or water retention, characterized by swollen face, hands, abdomen, ankles and feet. This occurs when the kidneys can’t expel enough fluid or salt from the body. This can lead to diseases of the heart, liver, and other essential organs (4).