Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease

Key points

  • Managing risk factors like diabetes and high blood pressure can help prevent kidney problems like chronic kidney disease (CKD).
  • Early CKD has no signs or symptoms, but the earlier you treat it, the better.
  • Get your kidneys tested if you're at risk of CKD.
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Kidney disease

Your kidneys filter your blood, and remove excess fluid and waste from your body. Changes or damage to your kidneys may cause your kidneys to fail. Chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease can cause kidney damage.

CKD can progress over time to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, your blood must be filtered (this is called dialysis treatments) several times a week. You may also need to have a kidney transplant.

Manage CKD risk factors

Approximately 1 in 3 adults with diabetes and 1 of 5 adults with high blood pressure may have CKD.

Other problems that put you at greater chance of kidney disease include:

  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Overweight or obesity.
  • Family history of CKD.

Kidney infections and a physical injury can also cause kidney disease.

People who have diabetes may be able to prevent or delay CKD with blood pressure-lowering drugs. These medicines reduce protein in the urine, a risk factor for developing CKD.

Having CKD increases the chances of heart disease and stroke. Treatment can help prevent or delay cardiovascular death and kidney failure.

Take care of your kidneys‎

And they'll take care of you. Download the fact sheet.

Get tested for CKD

Early CKD has no signs or symptoms, so you may not know if you have it. The earlier you take action to prevent or delay kidney disease, the better.

  • If you're at risk for CKD, get tested regularly. Ask your doctor how often is right for you.
  • If you have diabetes, get tested yearly.

Tips for healthy kidneys

Take action to prevent, delay, or manage CKD:

  • Lose weight if you have overweight or obesity.
  • Be active. Physical activity helps control blood sugar levels.
  • If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.
  • Take all of your medicines as prescribed.
  • Stay in your target cholesterol range.
  • Eat foods lower in salt.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol can increase your risk of high blood pressure.
  • Get your flu shot every year. People with CKD have a higher risk of severe illness from the flu.

If you have diabetes:

  • Meet blood sugar targets as often as you can.
  • Get your A1C level tested at least twice a year, but ideally up to 4 times per year.

If you have high blood pressure:

  • Check it regularly and get it under control to protect your kidneys.
  • Talk to your doctor about medicines that harm your kidneys, and other ways to lower your blood pressure.