The earlier you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, the better. An early diagnosis means quicker treatment and an opportunity to slow the disease before it gets worse. Don’t wait — if you’re at risk for kidney disease, get tested now.
Assess your risk
Although people of all ages and backgrounds get kidney disease, some people are more at risk. If you have family members who have had the disease, have existing health problems — namely diabetes and high blood pressure — and belong to certain ethnic groups, you are more likely to get kidney disease.
Because symptoms of chronic kidney disease don’t often show up until the disease is quite advanced, it is important to know if you belong to a high-risk group. Although there are risk factors you can’t control, such as your family history and ethnicity, there are some you can control.
Lifestyle choices, including smoking and a diet high in salt, can increase your risk considerably. The good news is if you change your diet and exercise regime now, you are likely to feel better and see positive changes in your overall health. You’ll also lower your risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Discover healthy recipes and read about the benefits of exercise to start lowering your risk of CKD today.
Visit your general practitioner
If you have a high risk of developing chronic kidney disease or think you are starting to show symptoms, see your doctor right away. There are several simple tests your general practitioner will do to see if you have kidney disease.
1. Test your urine.
One of the first things your doctor will do is test your urine for a protein called albumin. People with kidney damage have a higher level of albumin in their urine. If you have a greater risk of kidney disease or think you are showing symptoms of it, go to your doctor now. Your doctor will test your albumin level then and might suggest testing it at least once a year in the future.
2. Test your blood.
A simple blood test will reveal more about the health of your kidneys. Your doctor will take a small sample of blood and test it for creatinine, a waste product normally removed by the kidneys. If your kidneys aren’t working at full strength, creatinine levels in your blood will likely be higher.
Find a kidney specialist
Seeing a doctor who specializes in kidney health is the next step. A kidney specialist, or nephrologist, will work with you to determine the treatment that best fits your current health and lifestyle.