Kids and Kidney Disease: Know the Symptoms

kid with mom talking to doctor


Kidney disease can be a life-threatening condition, with over 450,000 patients experiencing kidney failure in the United States alone. Kidney disease is often called the “silent disease” because symptoms can be difficult to see during the early stages. This problem is especially pronounced in children who may not know that what they are experiencing is anything other than “normal”. This makes it extremely important for parents to be observant and know what to look for in order to prevent any more damage to the kidneys because of a delayed diagnosis. If you know anyone with a history of kidney disease in their family, please share this information with them, and encourage your friends to donate a car to help fund continuing research and education on kidney disease.


Childhood Kidney Disease Indicators

What causes kidney disease? There are several known indicators of kidney disease that doctors watch for and can give you an idea of whether you should be watching YOUR child closely for symptoms. Here are several indicators that can cause kidney disease.


  • Heredity- Kidney disease can be inherited.

  • Birth Defects

  • Infections

  • Systemic Disease

  • Nephrotic Syndrome

  • Urine Blockage

  • Trauma


If your child has dealt with any of these, watch for potential kidney disease symptoms.


Common Symptoms of Kidney Disease

If you see any of these symptoms in your child, arrange a visit with your pediatrician and get your child checked. If you have a history of any of the indicators listed above, be sure your doctor knows about them.


  • Swelling in the hands and feet, even mild swelling

  • Puffiness around the eyes (caused by fluid retention)

  • Decreased appetite or lack of appetite at all

  • Increased or decreased urination frequency

  • Wetting the bed, when a child has previously outgrown it

  • Foamy or dark urine

  • High blood pressure

  • Headaches (from the high blood pressure)

  • Flu-like symptoms: vomiting, nausea, fatigue, lost appetite, weakness

  • Stunted growth compared to peer group

  • Poor performance in school

Be sure to have conversations with your child about their health. Ask them how they are feeling and teach them to be observant about their body and any changes that may occur to it. With some caution and awareness, a potentially life-threatening disease can be caught before it causes irreversible damage to your child.