March is National Kidney Month. We often take our kidney’s for granted until there is a problem. Why wait until then?
Preventing chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its complications is possible by managing risk factors and treating the disease to slow its progression and reduce the risk of complications. To keep healthy kidneys, it is important to control those risk factors for CKD that can be modified.
Get Tested for CKD
- If you are at risk, get tested for CKD regularly. Ask your doctor to test your blood or urine.
- Find it early. Treat it early.
- If you have diabetes, get tested yearly.
Healthy Kidney Tips
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Get active. Physical activity helps control blood sugar levels.
- Quit smoking.
- Getting a checkup? Make sure to get your kidneys checked too.
- Take medications as directed.
- Keep your blood pressure below 140/90, or ask your doctor what the best blood pressure target is for you.
- If you have diabetes, stay in your target blood sugar range as much as possible.
- Stay in your target cholesterol range.
- Eat foods lower in salt.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Keep your kidneys healthy by controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure.
Managing Risk Factors for CKD
- Among people with diabetes and high blood pressure, blood sugar and blood pressure control have been shown to lower the risk of developing kidney disease.
- Several studies have shown the possibility for preventing or delaying the start of diabetic kidney disease by treating patients who have diabetes with blood pressure-lowering drugs. In addition to lowering blood pressure, these medications reduce protein in the urine, a risk factor for developing kidney disease.
- Managing blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels is very important because these are all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
- Because having kidney disease increases the chances of also having heart disease and stroke, early detection and treatment of kidney disease is important for people with diabetes to help prevent or delay cardiovascular death and kidney failure.
- Learn more about taking care of your kidneys Cdc-pdf[PDF – 281 KB].
Once detected, kidney disease may be addressed through:
- Improved lifestyle changes (e.g. healthy eating)
- Meeting with a dietitian to make a kidney-healthy eating plan
- Proper use of medications (e.g. drugs to lower blood pressure)
- Avoiding conditions or exposures that can harm the kidneys or cause a sudden drop in kidney function (called acute kidney injury), such as:
- Kidney infections
- Over the counter pain medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen
- Certain antibiotics
- Herbal supplements
- Dyes that are used to make the blood vessels or organs visible on X-rays or other imaging tests
Source: CDC Kidney Disease Prevention