What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Disease?

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on April 27, 2023
2 min read

You might not notice any problems if you have chronic kidney disease that’s in the early stages, and sometimes not even in the advanced stage. Most people don’t have symptoms early on. That’s dangerous, because the damage can happen without you realizing it.

If your chronic kidney disease is already more advanced, you may:

  • Be vomiting or often feel like you’re going to
  • Pee more often than normal, or less often
  • See “foam” in your pee
  • Have swelling, particularly of the ankles, and puffiness around the eyes
  • Feel tired or short of breath all the time
  • Not feel like eating
  • Not be able to taste much
  • Have muscle cramps, especially in your legs
  • Have very dry, itchy skin
  • Sleep poorly
  • Lose weight for no obvious reason

A child with chronic kidney disease may also feel worn out and sleepier than usual, have less appetite than normal, and not be growing as expected. 

Make an appointment if you notice any of the symptoms listed above. There could be other possible causes, but you’ll need to see your doctor to find out what the problem is and what treatment you need.

If you’re at risk -- you have high blood pressure or diabetes, or if kidney disease runs in your family, for instance -- ask your doctor how often you’ll need to get tested. It’s very important to do this so your kidneys can work as well as possible.