March 14 is World Kidney Day.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition where the kidneys are damaged and lose the ability to keep you healthy. As kidney disease gets worse, body waste can build up in your blood and make you feel sick by creating a host of health problems. Problems caused by CKD typically happen slowly over a long period of time.
CKD may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, old age and other disorders. As it progresses, CKD may eventually lead to kidney failure (also called end-stage kidney disease), which requires either dialysis or a kidney transplant to sustain life.
Early detection is extremely important to prevent progression of CKD to kidney failure. CKD also is a risk factor for heart and blood vessel disease.
CKD is fairly common: nearly 26 million American adults have the disease, but according to the American Society of Nephrology, only about one in ten Americans with kidney disease are aware of it. Simple blood and urine tests can indicate if you have CKD. Regular physical exams, especially after age 40, are one of the keys to avoiding CKD, or detecting it early enough to prevent more serious damage.
Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is fairly advanced.
Five things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy:
- Exercise regularly and eat healthy
- Have an annual physical exam especially after age 40
- If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions
- Avoid regular use of medications that may harm your kidneys
- Ask your primary care physician if it is necessary to see a kidney doctor