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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health concern. CKD often goes undetected until it is very advanced. But when it is diagnosed early through very simple tests, progression of CKD can be slowed or even stopped. Regular testing for everyone is important but it is especially important for people at risk. Follow these 5 steps to learn more about kidney disease, your risk, and how to prevent kidney disease.

Step 1: Know these facts
6 Things Healthy Kidneys Do:

  • Regulate the body’s fluid levels
  • Filter wastes and toxins from the blood
  • Release a hormone that regulates blood pressure
  • Activate Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones
  • Release the hormone that directs production of red blood cells
  • Keep blood minerals in balance (sodium, phosphorus, potassium)

8 Problems CKD can cause:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Death
  • Weak bones
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney failure (end-stage renal disease, or ESRD)
  • Anemia or low red blood cell count

Step 2: Assess Your Risk
4 Main Risk Factors:

  • Diabetes (self or family)
  • High blood pressure (self or family)
  • Cardiovascular disease (self or family)
  • Family history of kidney disease or diabetes or high blood pressure

10 Additional Risk Factors:

  • African-American heritage
  • Native American heritage
  • Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander heritage
  • Age 60 or older
  • Obesity
  • Low birth weight
  • Prolonged use of NSAIDs, a type of painkillers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Lupus, other autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic urinary tract infections
  • Kidney stones

Step 3: Recognize Symptoms
Most people with early CKD have no symptoms, which is why early testing is critical. By the time symptoms appear, CKD may be advanced, and symptoms can be misleading.
8 Possible Trouble Signs:

  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Difficult, painful urination
  • Foamy urine
  • Pink, dark urine (blood in urine)
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased need to urinate(especially at night)
  • Puffy eyes
  • Swollen face, hands, abdomen, ankles, feet

Step 4: Get Tested
4 Simple, Life-Saving Tests:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Protein in Urine
  • Creatinine in Blood (Serum Creatinine)
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)

Step 5: Stay Healthy
6 Things people with CKD should do:

  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Keep blood-sugar levels under control if diabetic
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Avoid NSAIDs, a type of painkillers
  • Moderate protein consumption
  • Get an annual flu shot

9 Things everyone should do:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Control weight
  • Follow a balanced diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink only in moderation
  • Stay hydrated
  • Monitor cholesterol levels
  • Get an annual physical
  • Know your family medical history