Like most chronic health conditions, you can reduce your risk of Kidney Disease by leading a healthy lifestyle. You should always talk to your doctor about specific steps to take, especially if you think you might be a risk for kidney disease. Here are some general tips to living a healthy lifestyle:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Be active
- Keep control of your blood sugar
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Monitor your blood pressure
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation
- Avoid smoking
- Limit your use of over the counter pain medication
Kidney disease often has no symptoms, and it can go undetected until it is very advanced. It’s important to get tested because early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease. Two simple tests can tell you if you have kidney disease.
The first is a test for protein in the urine. the Albumin to Creatinine Ratio (ACR), estimates the amount of albumin that is in your urine. An excess amount of protein in your urine may mean your kidneys’ filtering units have been damaged by disease. A positive result from this test could just be due to fever or heavy exercise, so your doctor will want to confirm your test over several weeks.
The second test is for blood creatinine. Your doctor should use your results, along with your age, race, gender and other factors, to calculate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Your GFR tells how much kidney function you have.
The National Kidney Foundation of Indiana offers two prevention programs to help people understand their level of risk for kidney disease. The Kidney Health Risk Assessment and the Indiana Kidney Check screening program.
Kidney Health Risk Assessment
The Kidney Health Risk Assessment screening can be found at all Kidney Walks across Indiana, as well as at many health fairs. This FREE assessment features a four-station set-up including a pre-survey, blood pressure, height, and weight measurements to determine your body mass index (BMI), and a clinician consultation to identify risk factors for kidney disease.
Indiana Kidney Check
The Indiana Kidney Check (IKC) is a community-based initiative to educate about the kidneys, risk factors for kidney disease, and steps to take to keep kidneys healthy and reduce risk. The National Kidney Foundation of Indiana offers this FREE kidney health screening program to Hoosiers 18 and older several times each year in different parts of the state.
When you attend an IKC, you can expect the health screening to include the following:
- Risk survey
- Body Mass Index (BMI): Height and Weight Measurements
- Blood Pressure reading
- ACR urine test for albumin (a type of protein)
- Blood glucose test (done with a finger stick)
- eGFR calculation (as needed)
- Opportunity to speak with a healthcare professional
- Free educational materials