Gout causes poor kidney function

Kidney weakness (chronic): effects & complications

Disturbances in blood purification and in the water and salt balance affect many other organs in the body. Chronic kidney failure can therefore lead to various complications:

high blood pressure

A significant consequence of chronic kidney weakness is increased blood pressure: around 80% of so-called kidney patients suffer from it. However, high blood pressure can also be the cause of kidney weakness. As the production and excretion of urine decreases, the body cannot get rid of excess salt and water, which causes blood pressure to rise. It also leads to fluid retention, especially in the legs (edema). In extreme cases, fluid collects in the lungs, which leads to coughing with whitish to frothy secretions and severe shortness of breath (pulmonary edema).

Heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, heart attack, stroke

In addition, there is further damage to the cardiovascular system, in particular to pronounced calcification of arteries and also of heart valves. Heart valve defects or cardiac insufficiency can occur as a result of chronic kidney failure, but of course also heart attacks and strokes caused by the calcified arteries. When kidney failure occurs, the kidneys increasingly lose the ability to excrete potassium. Especially with a daily urine volume of less than one liter, the potassium levels in the blood can rise (hyperkalaemia), which manifests itself in a slower heartbeat, dizziness and brief loss of consciousness as well as muscle weakness and tingling sensations. If the potassium level is very high, there is a risk of cardiac arrhythmia up to and including cardiac arrest. The excess water can also lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Nervous system disorders

Neurological disorders are also a common complication of advanced chronic kidney failure. They can be measured as slowed nerve conduction speed and altered brain waves in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Possible symptoms are:

  • Fatigue, memory and concentration disorders
  • Optical hallucinations, disorientation, coma
  • Itching, burning, muscle spasms or weakness
  • Cognitive disorders
  • sleep disorders


As the kidney function deteriorates, smaller amounts of the blood-forming hormone erythropoietin are formed. This leads to anemia, the so-called renal anemia, which can manifest itself as increased tiredness, noticeable paleness of the skin and decreased physical resilience.

Bone metabolism disorders

As kidney function declines, less active vitamin D is available to the body. Active vitamin D is a hormone that promotes the absorption of calcium by the intestines and strengthens bones. If too little active vitamin D is formed in the kidneys, then the calcium content in the bones decreases, there are more bone fractures and more bone, muscle and joint pain. Since the damaged kidneys also excrete less phosphate, the phosphate level in the blood rises, which further promotes the decalcification of the bones and the calcification of the arteries.

High levels of phosphate in the blood cause itching, bone pain, and muscle pain. In addition, the increasing accumulation in the body increases the risk of arteriosclerosis. This increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.


Disturbances in protein and energy metabolism, hormonal disturbances as well as nausea and loss of appetite are the reasons why many patients with kidney disease are malnourished. The protein metabolism is particularly affected. The body absorbs less protein as the kidney function declines, and this can also reduce calorie intake.