Leaky kidneys are a sign of kidney damage or disorders. In the early stages, leaky kidneys are often asymptomatic, so many people do not realize that they have kidney problems. Symptoms of a leaky kidney usually only appear when the kidney damage is severe enough.
One of the main functions of the kidneys is to filter blood. Healthy kidneys will filter waste and toxins to be excreted through urine. Meanwhile, other important substances needed by the body, such as protein, glucose, and minerals, will be reabsorbed by the kidneys and returned to the bloodstream.
When the kidneys are damaged, their function in filtering and absorbing important substances, including protein, from the blood will be disrupted. As a result, the protein will leak and get wasted through the urine.
Urine that contains little protein is generally considered normal. However, if the amount of protein that is wasted through the urine is quite large, this condition is referred to as leaky kidneys.
Causes of Leaky Kidneys
Leaky kidneys or proteinuria can be caused by several conditions or diseases, such as:
- Kidney disease, such as glomerulonephritis, acute and chronic renal failure, nephrotic syndrome, and diabetic nephropathy.
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP).
- Endocarditis or inflammation of the walls of the heart due to infection.
- Cancers, such as kidney cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and lymphoma.
- Side effects of drugs.
In addition to some of the causes above, a person is also more at risk for leaky kidneys if he has certain medical conditions or diseases, such as diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension, poisoning, obesity, and infections. Leaky kidneys are also more prone to occur in people who are elderly (over 65 years).
Some Signs and Symptoms of Leaky Kidneys
In the early stages, leaky kidneys rarely cause symptoms. Usually, the symptoms of a leaky kidney only appear when kidney disease or other disorders that cause leaky kidneys have progressed to a severe stage.
Some signs and symptoms of leaky kidneys to watch out for include:
1. Foamy or frothy urine
Normal urine contains little or no protein, is clear or yellow in color, and is watery and does not foam. If your urine looks frothy or frothy every time you urinate, this may be due to high levels of protein in your urine due to leaky kidneys.
Medically, swelling in the body is referred to as edema. This swelling occurs due to accumulation of fluid in body tissues.
When the kidneys leak, albumin protein levels in the blood are reduced because some of it is wasted with urine. This will then cause fluid buildup and swelling in several parts of the body such as the hands, feet, stomach, eyes, and face.
3. Muscle cramps and brittle bones
Protein is an important nutrient for increasing muscle and bone strength. Lack of protein in the body will certainly cause a number of problems in the muscles and bones, such as muscle cramps, fatigue, and easy fractures.
Patients with leaky kidneys are at risk of having problems with muscles and bones due to decreased levels of protein in the body because it is wasted with urine.
4. Vulnerable to infection
Protein is one of the substances that play a role in forming antibodies to protect the body from infection. If the number of antibodies in the body is not adequate, a person's immune system will decrease and be susceptible to infection. This makes people with leaky kidneys susceptible to infection and fever.
In addition to some of the symptoms above, people with leaky kidneys can also experience other symptoms such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itchy, dry and peeling skin
- Decreased appetite
- heavy breath
- Difficult to concentrate
- Pee more often than usual.
Because they are often asymptomatic, most leaky kidneys are only detected when the doctor performs a urine test during a routine health check. Therefore, to detect kidney leakage early, it is recommended that you see a doctor, especially if you have experienced the symptoms of a leaky kidney.
If the results of the examination show that you are positive for leaky kidneys, the doctor will then provide treatment according to the cause. To treat leaky kidneys, your doctor can give you medicine, advise you on a special diet, or perform dialysis or dialysis.