Make the Connection
If you have diabetes, ask your doctor about kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) often develops slowly and with few symptoms. Many people don’t realize they’re sick until the disease is advanced and they need dialysis (a treatment that filters the blood) or a kidney transplant to survive.
If you have diabetes, get your kidneys checked regularly, which is done by your doctor with simple blood and urine tests. Regular testing is your best chance for identifying CKD early if you do develop it. Early treatment is most effective and can help prevent additional health problems.
You can help keep your kidneys healthy by managing your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. This is also very important for your heart and blood vessels — high blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
- Kidney diseases are the 9th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Approximately 1 of 3 adults with diabetes has chronic kidney disease.
- Every 24 hours, 160 people with diabetes begin treatment for kidney failure.
For data and trends, View Diabetes-Related Indicators in the Chronic Kidney Disease Surveillance System
Tips for Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy
- Check your blood pressure regularly and keep it below 140/90 mm/Hg, but check with your health care provider for your appropriate target. Talk to your doctor about medicines and other ways to lower your blood pressure.
- Stay in your target cholesterol range.
- Eat foods lower in sodium.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Stay physically active.
- Take your medications as directed.
If you have diabetes:
- Meet blood sugar targets as often as you can.
- Have an A1c test at least twice a year, but ideally up to four times a year. An A1c test measures the average level of blood sugar over the past three months.
Preventing type 2 diabetes is another important step in preventing kidney disease. Studies have shown that overweight people at higher risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight, or 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. You can do that by eating healthier and getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week. The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you adopt the healthy lifestyle habits needed to prevent diabetes. Find a convenient program in your community.