10 Symptoms of HIV-associated nephropathy You Should Never Ignore

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10 Symptoms of HIV-associated nephropathy You Should Never Ignore

HIV-associated nephropathy, also known as HIVAN, is a kidney disease that is more common in individuals living with HIV. It is a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure if not properly managed. Recognizing the symptoms of HIVAN is crucial for early detection and treatment. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of HIV-associated nephropathy and the importance of seeking medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.

HIVAN is a result of direct infection of the kidney cells by the HIV virus. This can cause inflammation and damage to the kidneys, leading to impaired kidney function. The symptoms of HIVAN can be subtle at first, but they can progress rapidly if left untreated. It is important for individuals living with HIV to be aware of the potential signs of HIVAN and seek medical advice if they experience any of these symptoms.

1. Swelling

One of the most common symptoms of HIV-associated nephropathy is swelling, also known as edema. This swelling can occur in the legs, feet, ankles, or even the face. It is a result of the kidneys not being able to properly remove excess fluid from the body, leading to fluid retention and swelling. If you notice unexplained swelling, especially in the lower extremities, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional.

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2. Proteinuria

Proteinuria is the presence of an abnormal amount of protein in the urine. This can be a sign of kidney damage, including HIV-associated nephropathy. The kidneys normally filter out waste products and excess substances, including proteins, from the blood. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, protein can leak into the urine. If you notice foamy urine or are told by a healthcare provider that you have protein in your urine, it is important to follow up for further evaluation.

3. High Blood Pressure

HIV-associated nephropathy can lead to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The kidneys play a critical role in regulating blood pressure, and when they are damaged, it can lead to an increase in blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with HIV and have uncontrolled high blood pressure, it is important to discuss the possibility of kidney involvement with your healthcare provider.

4. Fatigue

Feeling tired or fatigued is a common symptom of many health issues, including HIV-associated nephropathy. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, it can lead to a buildup of waste products in the blood, which can make you feel tired and sluggish. If you are experiencing unexplained fatigue, especially in combination with other symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice.

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5. Decreased Urination

A change in urination patterns, such as a decrease in the amount of urine produced, can be a sign of kidney dysfunction, including HIV-associated nephropathy. The kidneys play a crucial role in filtering waste and excess fluid from the body, and when they are not functioning properly, it can lead to changes in urination. If you notice a significant decrease in urination, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional.

6. Nausea and Vomiting

When the kidneys are not functioning properly, waste products can build up in the blood, leading to nausea and vomiting. If you are experiencing persistent nausea and vomiting, especially in combination with other symptoms such as swelling or decreased urination, it is important to seek medical attention.

7. Anemia

HIV-associated nephropathy can lead to anemia, which is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. Anemia can cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to discuss the possibility of kidney involvement with your healthcare provider.

8. Itching

Itching, also known as pruritus, can be a sign of kidney dysfunction, including HIV-associated nephropathy. The buildup of waste products in the blood can lead to itching, especially in the legs and feet. If you are experiencing unexplained itching, it is important to seek medical advice.

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9. Bone pain

HIV-associated nephropathy can lead to mineral and bone disorders, which can cause bone pain and an increased risk of fractures. If you are experiencing unexplained bone pain, it is important to discuss the possibility of kidney involvement with your healthcare provider.

10. Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexplained weight loss can be a sign of kidney dysfunction, including HIV-associated nephropathy. The buildup of waste products in the blood can lead to loss of appetite and weight loss. If you are experiencing unexplained weight loss, especially in combination with other symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.