10 Symptoms of sickle cell nephropathy You Should Never Ignore

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10 Symptoms of sickle cell nephropathy You Should Never Ignore

Sickle cell nephropathy is a serious complication of sickle cell disease that affects the kidneys. It occurs when sickle-shaped red blood cells block the flow of blood in the small blood vessels within the kidneys, leading to kidney damage. This condition can cause a range of symptoms, some of which can be serious and require medical attention.

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of sickle cell nephropathy so that you can seek prompt medical treatment if needed. In this article, we will discuss the common symptoms associated with this condition and what to look out for.

1. Pain in the Flanks

One of the most common symptoms of sickle cell nephropathy is pain in the flanks, which are the areas of the body that are located between the upper abdomen and the back. The pain can range from mild to severe and may be constant or intermittent. It’s important to note that the pain may not always be present, but if you experience any discomfort in this area, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider.

2. Blood in the Urine

Another symptom of sickle cell nephropathy is the presence of blood in the urine. This can be a sign of kidney damage or the formation of kidney stones, which can occur as a result of the blockage of blood flow in the kidneys. If you notice blood in your urine, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine the underlying cause.

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3. Swelling in the Legs and Feet

Swelling in the legs and feet, also known as edema, can occur as a result of poor kidney function in individuals with sickle cell nephropathy. When the kidneys are not able to effectively remove excess fluid from the body, it can lead to swelling in the lower extremities. If you notice swelling in your legs and feet, it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

4. High Blood Pressure

Sickle cell nephropathy can also lead to the development of high blood pressure, which can further contribute to kidney damage. High blood pressure can often be asymptomatic, so it’s important to have regular blood pressure checks, especially if you have been diagnosed with sickle cell disease. If you experience symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, or chest pain, it’s important to seek medical attention.

5. Fatigue and Weakness

Individuals with sickle cell nephropathy may experience fatigue and weakness, which can be attributed to the decreased kidney function and anemia. Anemia occurs when the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry an adequate amount of oxygen to the body’s tissues. If you feel unusually tired or weak, it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

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6. Decreased Urine Output

Another symptom of sickle cell nephropathy is a decrease in urine output, which can be indicative of kidney dysfunction. It’s important to pay attention to changes in your urinary habits and to seek medical attention if you notice a significant decrease in urine output.

7. Nausea and Vomiting

Individuals with sickle cell nephropathy may experience nausea and vomiting, which can be a result of the buildup of waste products in the body when the kidneys are not functioning properly. If you experience persistent nausea and vomiting, it’s important to seek medical attention.

8. Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can occur in individuals with sickle cell nephropathy, especially if they have developed anemia or if the condition has led to heart complications. If you experience unexplained shortness of breath, it’s important to seek prompt medical attention.

9. Difficulty Concentrating

Due to the reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood in individuals with anemia, difficulty concentrating and cognitive impairment can occur. If you notice a decline in your ability to focus and concentrate, it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

10. Joint and Bone Pain

Sickle cell nephropathy can lead to bone and joint pain, a common symptom of sickle cell disease. The pain can be chronic or acute and can affect multiple areas of the body. It’s important to seek medical guidance for proper pain management and to address any underlying causes of the discomfort.

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