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Is Your Skin Dry and Itchy? It Could Be a Sign of This Serious Health Condition

When my skin gets dry, I usually chalk it up to the weather, or not drinking enough water. I always stock up on moisturizing lotion and body creams in the winter, when I tend to be indoors with the heat cranked (which is enough to dry out anyone’s skin), and I try to drink plenty of water whatever the weather. In most cases, dehydration and dry air are the culprits behind parched skin, but sometimes dry and itchy skin is a sign of something more serious: kidney disease.

Can kidney issues cause dry skin?

Your kidneys play several key roles in your body’s functioning, including filtering blood and regulating the balance of nutrients such as calcium and potassium. Having stable levels of nutrients in your body helps keep your skin naturally hydrated and healthy. However, when the kidneys aren’t working properly, imbalances in the amount of minerals and nutrients in your blood start to occur — which can eventually lead to kidney disease.

One of the very noticeable symptoms of poor kidney function is skin losing its moisture and becoming dry and itchy . The American Academy of Dermatology says the following skin-related symptoms can be signs of this disease:

  • Rough and scaly skin
  • Skin that feels tight and cracks easily
  • Fish-like scales on the skin

These bothersome symptoms can also affect various parts of your body and flare up anytime. Keeping these additional signs in mind can help you spot this condition right away.

Which parts of the body tend to itch when you have kidney problems?

Kidney disease affects everyone differently. Dryness and itching can occur throughout the body, or in specific areas, such as the back or arms. Also, you could be more prone to scratching those spots at night, which could make falling asleep more difficult.

Older adults are at a greater risk of developing kidney disease, so if you suffer from itchy, dry skin, it might be worth speaking with your doctor about whether you should be screened for this condition. In the meantime, simple diet tweaks like regularly drinking green tea and eating Swiss chard can go a long way to boosting your kidney health over time. Also, check out our list of the best body lotions to relieve itchy, dry skin, and be sure you’re staying hydrated.

Your dry skin, like mine, may simply be a sign that you need to drink more water and be more vigilant about moisturizing. But it’s better to be on the safe side and get it checked out.

Related: MDs Reveal a Surprising Side Effect of the Keto Diet + Easy Ways to Sidestep It

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