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Warning signs of kidney disease in children

Acute and chronic kidney disease can affect kids of any age. Learning the warning signs of kidney disease is critical to diagnosing and treating it as soon as possible.

Acute kidney disease

Acute kidney disease usually appears suddenly and can go away after treatment. Some acute kidney diseases can cause long-term effects or may go away entirely.

Some common warning signs include:

  • Fever
  • Swelling around the eyes, face, feet and ankles
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Frequent urination and difficulty controlling urination
  • Decreased urination
  • Reappearance of nighttime bedwetting
  • Blood in the urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath

Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are damaged permanently from an illness or condition. Most patients with the early disease do not have symptoms. The warning signs of chronic kidney disease include:

  • Swelling around the eyes, feet and ankles
  • Frequent urination or prolonged bedwetting
  • Decreased urination
  • Stunted or poor growth
  • Loss of appetite and chronic nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent severe headaches
  • Anemia and pale appearance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bone fracture
  • Itching

How is kidney disease diagnosed?

Some tests your child’s provider may run to determine if your child has kidney disease could be:

  • Urinalysis
  • Blood test
  • Ultrasound and X-rays
  • Kidney biopsy

Speak with your health care provider as soon as possible if you believe your child is experiencing warning signs of kidney disease, or if they are at risk due to family history. Learn more about our pediatric kidney team by visiting our website.

Free Kidney Screenings

University Health has partnered with the Texas Kidney Foundation to offer free kidney disease screenings for adults in honor of Kidney Awareness Month. If you believe you may be at risk of developing kidney disease, visit txkidney.org for more information.


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