Could you or someone you care about be at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD)? Nearly 1.4 million people around the world are on dialysis to treat CKD1. Many are at risk and don’t even know it. Risk factors include the following:
If you may be at risk for kidney disease, consider scheduling a kidney screening with your general practitioner as part of your next checkup. No-cost screenings are offered in some places, as well.
Kidney disease can be discovered through lab tests or by symptoms. High blood levels of creatinine and urea or high levels of protein in your urine suggest kidney disease. Diabetics should have a yearly urine test for microalbumin, small amounts of protein that don't show up on standard urine protein tests.
After you have basic screening tests done, if you have signs of kidney disease you should ask for a referral to a nephrologist, a specialist in treating kidney disease. A nephrologist will perform an evaluation then suggest medications or lifestyle changes to help slow the progression of your kidney disease.
1. [Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Vol. 86. No 3, March 2008, 161-240]
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