Six Steps to Healthier Kidneys
Most Americans know that heart disease and cancer can be silent killers and understand that monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol are critical to protecting their health. Too few adults—and not enough doctors—realize, however, that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is another common, life-threatening illness that often goes undetected until very advanced when it could be diagnosed early through simple tests.
Studies report that 37 million Americans suffer from CKD and millions more are at risk. Worse, today’s epidemics of diabetes and obesity could contribute to even higher rates of CKD in the future. Undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to serious health problems including kidney failure. Caught early, it can often be managed, and kidney damage can be slowed or stopped. That’s why early testing for people at risk is so important.
In preparation for National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day, the NKF offers this 6-step primer for protecting health.
|Step 1: Know These Facts|
|6 Things Healthy Kidneys Do:|
|8 Problems CKD Can Cause:|
|Step 2: Assess Your Risk|
|4 Main Risk Factors:|
|10 Additional Risk Factors:|
|Step 3: Recognize Symptoms|
|Most people with early CKD have no symptoms, which is why early testing is critical. By the time symptoms appear, CKD may be advanced, and symptoms can be misleading. Pay attention to these:|
|8 Possible Trouble Signs:|
|Step 4: Get Tested|
|If you or a loved one belong to a high-risk group, ask your primary-care physician about these tests-and be especially insistent about the last one. Your doctor may want to perform other tests as well.|
What: Blood Pressure
What: Protein in Urine
What: Creatinine in Blood (Serum Creatinine)
What: Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
|Step 5: Stay Healthy|
|6 Things People with CKD Should Do:|
|9 Things Everyone Should Do:|
|Step 6: Learn More|