Kidney Disease Prevention

Most Americans with kidney disease are not even aware they have it. Symptoms do not manifest until their kidneys are severely impaired.

Understanding the causes of kidney disease and the preventive measures one can take is essential for leading a healthy life.

Kidneys, two bean-shaped organs located in the lower back area, play a crucial role in maintaining bodily functions. At least one healthy kidney is necessary for the body to function optimally. These kidneys help regulate blood pressure and contribute to bone health.

Nevertheless, the most critical function of the kidneys is to eliminate waste from the blood. If they fail or do not perform adequately, they cannot effectively remove the body’s waste. If kidneys cease to function, a condition known as kidney failure, they will require dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.

Our programs use a people-first approach to serve those who need our help. Through our work in communities around the country, we focus on raising awareness, serving our neighbors and advocating for change to make a positive difference in the lives of those in need.

Early Detection and Prevention

Early detection is the most effective way to combat kidney disease. There are two simple, quick, and inexpensive tests for kidney disease:

  • Eating healthy
    • Eating foods that are low in sodium (salt) and fat can help keep your kidneys healthy. 
    • Following an eating plan that is low in added sugar can help prevent heart disease, manage diabetes, and help maintain a healthy weight. These are all important factors when managing or preventing chronic kidney disease (CKD).
  • Being active and exercising
    • Being active can keep your kidneys healthy by helping you:
      • Stay at a healthy weight. 
      • Keep a healthy blood sugar level. 
      • Lower your blood pressure.
      • Lower your cholesterol (a waxy, fat-like substance in your blood).
  • Limiting your alcohol use
  • Quitting smoking or using tobacco
  • Importance of regular check-ups and consultations with primary care physicians 
    • In order to understand the health status of one’s kidneys, regular testing is paramount. This becomes even more crucial for individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney disease.
    • It is advisable for them to request their doctors to conduct tests that can help detect any signs of kidney disease. Simple blood and urine tests can provide insights into the functioning of the kidneys and indicate any potential issues.
  • Evaluation of kidney function
    • A specific test known as the urine albumin-creatinine ratio (uACR) measures the amount of a protein called albumin in the urine. Healthy kidneys usually keep large molecules such as albumin in the blood, but damaged kidneys may allow some of this protein to leak into the urine.
    • Another essential test is the blood creatinine test, which is used to calculate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The GFR indicates how well the kidneys are working to remove wastes from the blood and is considered the best method to assess kidney function.
  • Preventative medicine pays off
    • A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that between 1996 and 2013, there was a 54% decrease in the incidence of diabetes-related KFRT in Native American and Alaska Natives since the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) began in 1997. The CDC estimates that the decrease in KFRT related to diabetes resulted in 2,200 to 2,600 fewer cases of diabetes-related KFRT and estimates $436 to $520 million in savings to Medicare over 10 years.

Information on this page retrieved from National Kidney Foundation and American Kidney Fund