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Understanding Kidney Disease Fatigue

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

Patients with Kidney Disease experience many symptoms with one of the symptoms being fatigue and in some cases extreme fatigue. In this article, we will look at the causes of what we like to call KDF or kidney disease fatigue.

What is Kidney Disease Fatigue?

Kidney Disease fatigue is a symptom that many patients feel and also one of the first indicators that you may be in the later stages of kidney disease. A patient will feel sluggish weak and tired a lot of the time. Each patient will feel different not all patients with kidney disease will feel fatigued the same way not all patients with kidney disease will feel nausea.

It is important and encouraged to seek all medical diagnoses and treatments from trained medical professionals this article is written as information and not implied as any diagnosis or treatment. Please speak with your medical professional.

What is the cause of Kidney Fatigue?

Kidney disease fatigue is caused by a loss of kidney function. The job of the kidneys is to filter and remove excess waste and toxins from the body. When the kidneys begin to fail the amount of waste material remains in the body. According to some kidney disease professionals, this causes the patient to feel sluggish and tired.

An example of this is when we have a cold or flu virus or for this example, the toxins are causing the body to respond and try and fight off what is not supposed to be there. Like when we have that cold or flu the first thing our body wants to do is sleep and reserve energy to fight the foreign object in our bodies.

Kidney disease fatigue can also be caused by a condition known as anemia which is a condition described as a lack of healthy red blood cells that help deliver oxygen to the blood.

What stage of kidney disease causes fatigue?

As we know kidney disease is broken into five stages you can read about the five stages of kidney disease. Kidney disease is more of a silent disease meaning most patients never know that they even have an issue. Fatigue can be a symptom that is noticed in Stage 3 or later of kidney disease. This is due to the patient’s kidney not being able to filter as much of the toxins from the body. This is also the stage where most patients learn that they have kidney disease in the first place.

Although fatigue could be felt in the earlier stages of kidney disease many patients may not recognize it as an issue and may notice it as stress, lifestyle, or other issues they may have.

How to combat kidney disease fatigue.

First and foremost you would want to seek the advice of a trained medical professional who will start if not already completed test you for kidney disease or a decline in your kidney function. Once it is determined that you have kidney disease or are in end-stage renal disease your doctor may recommend the following:

If fatigue is caused by anemia your doctor can treat this with medications and or iron supplements. This combination and strict monitoring of your kidney function may lower the symptoms of your fatigue.

Your fatigue could be caused by being under “dialyzed” the lowered ability of the kidney to filter out the toxins in your body. Your doctor may bring up the conversation of setting you up to begin dialysis treatments.

The other way to battle fatigue is in your diet many patients report that a conversation with their dietician and following a change in their diet has helped lower the feeling of fatigue. It is highly recommended before making such a change to speak with your medical team as always.

Lowering stress levels and following a stricter sleep schedule can also hold some benefits.


By understanding kidney disease and following your doctor's and medical team's advice you may find a way to decrease your feelings of fatigue. As your kidneys continue to decline you may feel an increase in your fatigue no matter your treatment diet or stress levels.

This is due to the lowered filtration of your kidneys and more toxins in your body. The only true treatment for you and many other patients is dialysis or most importantly kidney transplant.

Kidney Conversations is committed to raising awareness of kidney disease and all the factors, and symptoms involved. Giving you the patient, caregiver, and family information that will help educate and inform you about kidney disease. The conversation may start here but allows you to continue with your medical team. Keep the conversation going.

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