The kidneys perform many functions to keep the body healthy. Not only are they responsible for overall fluid balance, but they also remove waste products and excess fluids through the production of urine. Humans have two kidneys, and each one is about the size of a fist. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of kidney disease have a higher risk of developing a kidney condition. If the kidneys fail, an individual may require dialysis treatments to take over the function of this vital organ.
Kidney disease is a chronic condition. A constant buildup of excessive amounts of urea and other wastes is a primary symptom of kidney failure. A glomerular filtration rate (GFR) diagnostic test measures kidney function. If the GFR is 15 milliliters or less, or the individual loses about 85 to 90 percent of kidney function, the kidneys are failing. People with kidney failure experience swelling throughout their body due to fluid buildup. Other symptoms include nausea or vomiting, a metallic taste in the mouth, severe itching, and fatigue. Some people lose their appetite and begin to lose weight. Others report having issues thinking clearly.
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