Help Your Kidneys Keep You Healthy

Help Your Kidneys Keep You Healthy

Help Your Kidneys Keep You Healthy

Lee esto en EspañolKidneys play a big part in your overall health. They filter extra water and toxins from your blood and make urine. They also help control your blood pressure. When your kidneys aren’t working as they should, waste can build up and harm your body.

When you take charge of your health and wellness, it goes a long way toward keeping your kidneys healthy.

Early Detection

Most people with kidney disease don’t have symptoms until the disease is advanced and treatment is more difficult.

That’s why it’s important to have a yearly wellness exam. Tell your doctor about your family’s medical history — especially if someone close to you has kidney disease.

Catching kidney disease or any other long-term health problem early is vital to successful treatment. That’s why health tests and yearly exams matter.

If you have any of the risk factors for kidney disease, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or a family history of kidney failure, you should get a screening each year. A blood test will show how well your kidneys are filtering blood. A urine test will reveal if there’s too much protein in your urine.

Prevention Is Best

Lifestyle changes can help lower your risk for kidney disease.

  • Healthy food choices are important. Start by watching how much salt you eat. With kidney problems, extra sodium can build up and raise your blood pressure.
  • If you’re overweight, talk with your doctor and create an action plan. Extra pounds raise your chances for many health problems — including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Add exercise to your life to help keep your weight in line. Check with your doctor before starting. Then aim for 30 minutes at least three days a week to start.
Diabetes Concerns

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. About one in three adults with diabetes has kidney disease, says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. leaving site icon  Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is also called chronic kidney disease (CKD) or diabetic nephropathy.

Having diabetes for a long time raises the chances that you will have kidney damage. If the damage continues, your kidneys could fail. People with kidney failure need either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

If you have diabetes, two numbers are very important: blood sugar and blood pressure. You are more likely to get kidney disease if your blood sugar or blood pressure is too high.

You're also more likely to develop kidney disease if you have diabetes and:

  • Don’t follow your diabetes eating plan and watch your salt intake
  • Are not active
  • Are overweight
  • Have heart disease
  • Smoke
  • Have a family history of kidney failure

If you have diabetes, visit your doctor at least once a year for a urine test to detect protein and a test to check the creatinine level in your blood. These tests help show how well your kidneys are working.

You can slow down kidney damage and keep it from getting worse. Start by controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure. Be sure to take your medicines and keep your doctor visits.

Sources: Early Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease, leaving site icon  The National Kidney Foundation, 2014; Six-Step Guide to Protecting Kidney Health, leaving site icon  The National Kidney Foundation, 2022; Diabetic Kidney Disease, leaving site icon  National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,2017; Diabetic Kidney Problems, leaving site icon  NIDDKD,2021.

Originally published 2/4/2021; Revised 2022