What Your Skin Says About Your Kidney Health
Your skin is not just a covering, but a messenger that can reveal potential kidney issues. Learn to decode these subtle signals for early detection and prevention.
Dry Skin: Dry skin is something we all experience as the seasons change. But if you feel you have extremely dry skin that becomes rough and scaly easily, feels tight and almost begins to crack, or starts to develop fish-like scales then this could mean that the kidney is not functioning properly. This happens because kidneys have trouble balancing certain minerals including phosphorus. And when the phosphorus levels get too high, it can cause skin to be dry and irritated.
Itching Skin: Itching skin is another sign that our skin gives as a possible result of kidney disease. People with kidney ailments can experience exceptionally itchy skin, which can range from irritating to life-disrupting. The itch can occur around one area of the body for some, while for others, it could spread across the entire body. Some may require a treatment called UVB phototherapy from a dermatologist to alleviate this itch.
Changing colour of the skin: If you notice a change in the colour of your skin, it is important to consult a dermatologist to determine the cause. While changes in skin color can be a symptom of kidney disease, they can also be caused by other factors. In some cases, kidney disease can cause pale or gray-looking skin, areas of darkened skin, yellowish skin, cysts or whitehead-like spots, or thick skin with bumps and deep lines. However, not all kidney diseases will cause all of these symptoms.
Swelling: As we know the main work of the kidneys is to get rid of extra fluids from the body. When they can no longer do this, the body swells up. If you notice swelling on your legs, ankles, feet, hands or face it is best to get them examined by a practitioner immediately. However, swelling can also be caused by other medical conditions. Therefore, it is important to consult with a medical professional to determine the underlying cause of swelling, especially if it is sudden, severe, or accompanied by other symptoms.
Skin rash: When the kidney dysfunctions, we can expect a skin rash. This happens when the kidneys cannot remove the waste from the body. These rashes come forth in the form of small, dome shaped, extremely itchy bumps. When a bump clears, the other one appears. At times, these bumps join together and form a rough, raised patch. However, not all kidney diseases or dysfunctions will result in skin rashes.
Blisters: The other common effect of a kidney ailment on the skin is blisters. These show up on the hands, face or feet. These blisters can open up, then dry and form a crust over the skin. Once they heal, they will look like a scar on the skin. However, it's worth noting that not all kidney diseases or dysfunctions will result in blisters on the skin. Additionally, there are many other medical conditions and factors that can cause blisters, such as allergies, infections, medications, and autoimmune disorders. Therefore, it is important to consult with a medical professional to determine the underlying cause of blisters on the skin.
Extremely tight skin: This side effect is not too common but appears in some patients of kidney ailments. If the skin feels too tight to pinch then it is best to go visit a practitioner immediately. Some other side effects include skin that feels bound and an inability to bend a knee or an elbow completely.
Calcium deposits under the skin: Our kidney has many jobs, and one of them is to balance certain minerals in the blood such as sodium and phosphate. When there is an imbalance, certain levels can rise. Due to this, some people end up developing calcium deposits under their skin. These are usually around the joints and are not painful. Although if they occur within a finger-tip, they become a cause for great pain. If the deposit pushes up, the patient might experience a chalky discharge.
*Note: If you observe any extreme changes in your skin, it is best to have them closely examined by a dermatologist. There could also be other medical conditions that cause the above mentioned. Our skin tries to communicate with us, and we could save ourselves from trouble if we pick up these signs and take the correct measures in time.
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