Many people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) won't have symptoms because it doesn't usually cause problems until it reaches an advanced stage.
Early stages of CKD
There don't tend to be any symptoms of kidney disease when it's at an early stage.
This is because the body is usually able to cope with a significant reduction in kidney function.
Kidney disease is often only diagnosed at this stage after a routine test, such as a blood or urine test, detects a possible problem.
If it's picked up at this stage, you may only need medication and regular tests to monitor it. This can help stop it becoming more advanced.
Later stages of CKD
A number of symptoms can develop if kidney disease isn't picked up early on or it gets worse despite treatment.
Symptoms can include:
- weight loss and poor appetite
- swollen ankles, feet or hands – as a result of water retention (oedema)
- shortness of breath
- blood in your urine
- an increased need to pee – particularly at night
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- itchy skin
- muscle cramps
- feeling sick
- erectile dysfunction in men
When to get medical advice
See your GP if you have persistent or worrying symptoms that you think could be caused by kidney disease.
The symptoms of kidney disease can be caused by many less serious conditions, so it's important to get a proper diagnosis.
If you do have CKD, it's best to get it diagnosed as soon as possible. Kidney disease can be diagnosed by having blood and urine tests.
Read more about how CKD is diagnosed.
Page last reviewed: 15 August 2016
Next review due: 15 August 2019