Are You at Increased Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease?
Get Tested, Act Early.
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How Do You Know?
What Should You Do?
Your doctor or clinic should check to see if you have any risk factors for chronic kidney disease. These include diabetes, highblood pressure, a family history of chronic kidney disease and older age. Chronic kidney disease is also more common in African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians.
The National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii provides free community kidney health screenings. This includes tests for the early detection of chronic kidney disease.
For more information on screenings click here
You should visit your doctor or clinic and get tested. Your checkup should include:
Checking your blood pressure
Having a simple test for protein in your urine. Protein is an important building block in your body. Any filtered protein is normally reabsorbed and kept in your body. When your kidneys are damaged, however, protein leaks into your urine. There are different tests to find protein in your urine. If you have two positive tests over several weeks, you are said to have persistent protein in your urine. This is a sign of chronic kidney disease.
Having a simple blood test for creatinine, a waste product that comes from muscle activity. Your kidneys normally remove creatinine from your blood. When your kidneys are damaged, however, your blood creatinine may build to a high level. The results of your blood creatinine test should be used to estimate your glomerular filtration rate, or GFR. Your GFR tells how much kidney function you have.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the causes of kidney disease?
Your kidneys may be small, but they perform many vital functions that help maintain your overall health, including filtering waste and excess fluids from your blood. Serious kidney disease may lead to complete kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant to stay alive. While effective treatments are available for many kidney diseases, people are sometimes unaware that kidney disease can often be prevented. The following are the ten major causes of kidney disease.
In the United States the two leading causes of kidney failure, also called end stage kidney disease or ESRD, are diabetes (also called Type 2, or adult onset diabetes) and high blood pressure. When these two diseases are controlled by treatment, the associated kidney disease can often be prevented or slowed down.
Many effective drugs are available to treat high blood pressure. In addition, healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and regular exercise, often help to control, and may even help to prevent, high blood pressure.
Careful control of blood sugar in diabetics helps to prevent such complications as kidney disease, coronary heart disease and stroke. When diabetics have associated high blood pressure, special drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors may help to protect their kidney function.
The third leading cause of end stage kidney disease in the U.S. is glomerulonephritis, a disease that damages the kidneys' filtering units, called the glomeruli. In many cases, the cause of this disease is not known, but some cases may be inherited and others may be triggered by an infection.
Some of the other diseases that may affect the kidneys include infections, kidney stones and inherited diseases such as polycystic kidney disease. The kidneys can also be damaged by overuse of some over-the-counter pain killers and by taking illegal drugs such as heroin. Some of these diseases can be cured. In other cases, treatments can help to slow the disease and prolong life.
End stage kidney disease occurs when about 90 percent of kidney function has been lost. People with kidney failure may experience nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, confusion, difficulty concentrating and loss of appetite. It can be diagnosed by blood and urine tests.
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Why are certain ethnic groups at increased risk for CKD?
Diabetes, the leading cause of chronic kidney disease, is more common in these groups. Also, high blood pressure, the second leading cause of chronic kidney disease, appears more often in African Americans than in other ethnic groups. Many experts believe these groups may have an inherited tendency to develop these diseases. When combined with other things, such as being overweight, this tendency may lead to disease. Staying at a normal weight and getting enough exercise is very important for these groups to help prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.
What happens if my results show I may have CKD?
Your doctor will want to pinpoint your diagnosis and check your kidney function to help plan your treatment. The doctor may do the following:
Calculate your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), which is the best way to tell how much kidney function you have. You do not need to have another test to know your GFR. Your doctor can calculate it from your blood creatinine, your age, race, gender and other factors. Your GFR tells your doctor your stage of kidney disease and helps the doctor plan your treatment. (See chart "Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease.")
Perform a kidney biopsy, which is done in some cases to check for a specific type of kidney disease, see how much kidney damage has occurred and help plan treatment. To do a biopsy, the doctor removes small pieces of kidney tissue and looks at them under a microscope.
Your doctor may also ask you to see a kidney specialist who will consult on your case and help manage your care.
What are the five stages of CKD?
|Stage||Description||Glomerular Filtration Rate GFR)|
|At increased risk||Risk factors for kidney disease (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, older age, ethnic group)||More than 90|
|1||Kidney damage (protein in the urine) and normal GFR||More than 90|
|2||Kidney damage and mild decrease in GFR||60 to 89|
|3||Moderate decrease in GFR||30 to 59|
|4||Severe decrease in GFR||15 to 29|
|5||Kidney failure (dialysis or kidney transplant needed)||Less than 15|
Can CKD progression be prevented?
Most likely. Early detection and treatment can often slow or stop chronic kidney disease. How well your treatment can achieve this goal depends on:
How carefully you follow your treatment plan. Learn all you can about chronic kidney disease and its treatment, and make sure to follow all the steps of your treatment faithfully.