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Chronic Kidney Disease: Prevention, Risk Factors & Warning Signs

Healthy habits can help reduce your risk of chronic kidney disease.
Joelle Reizes - July 16, 2015

8 Simple Ways to Help Prevent Kidney Disease

There are a few easy things you can do to help prevent CKD. The healthy habits below can help protect and strengthen your kidneys and reduce your risk of developing kidney disease.

  1. Eat a kidney-friendly diet.
  2. Limit alcohol and tobacco use.
  3. Get plenty of exercise.
  4. Reduce your salt intake.
  5. Drink plenty of water.
  6. Avoid daily use of painkillers containing acetaminophen.
  7. Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  8. Limit consumption of potassium and phosphorus.

By adopting these kidney-friendly habits, you can dramatically reduce your risk of developing kidney disease. To learn more or schedule a CKD screening, contact us today.  

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), or the gradual loss of kidney function over time, affects 26 million adults across the country – but there are lots of easy things you can do to identify and reduce your risks. A few simple lifestyle changes, along with regular kidney health screenings, can help protect your kidneys and preserve your health.

Chronic Kidney Disease Risk Factors & Warning Signs

Knowing the risk factors and warning signs of CKD are your two of your best defenses against kidney disease. The main risk factors for developing CKD are:

  • Age (people 60 years and older are at greatest risk)
  • Family history of kidney failure
  • Race and ethnicity (African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and American Indians and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk)
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Hereditary factors (like polycystic kidney disease)
  • Abnormally elevated creatinine levels or decreasing glomerular filtration rates (GFR)

The most prominent signs and symptoms of CKD include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Blood and/or protein in the urine
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • High blood pressure

For many people, these symptoms don't actually present until the disease has reached an advanced stage, which is why knowing your risk factors and getting regular CKD screenings are so important. Early detection is key when it comes to protecting your kidney health.

Related Issues & Complications

Chronic kidney disease can affect more than just your kidneys. As kidney function declines, waste begins building up in your body that can cause or worsen other health problems, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Anemia
  • Nerve damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid in your lungs)
  • Bone disease

The Importance of Kidney Disease Screening

If left untreated, CKD can advance to full kidney failure, the only treatments for which are dialysis or kidney transplant. When detected early, though, the progression of CKD can often be slowed or even stopped altogether with a combination of medication and healthy lifestyle changes.

The CKD screening test is simple. A quick creatinine screening finger-stick test will assess how well your kidneys are functioning, with no need for you to fast beforehand. You'll get your results in less than a minute.

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