Make the Kidney Connection

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 20, 2013

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Make the Kidney ConnectionWhy should I be checked for kidney disease?

Diabetes and high blood pressure can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney disease. You need to get checked for kidney disease if you have one of these conditions. Here are some other reasons to get checked:

  • Early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms. The only way to know if you have kidney disease is to get checked for it.
  • Kidney disease does not go away. It may get worse over time and can lead to kidney failure. You will need to go on dialysis or have a kidney transplant if your kidneys fail.
  • Kidney disease can be treated. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can get treatment to help delay or prevent kidney failure. Treating kidney disease may also help prevent heart disease.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are not the only risk factors for kidney disease. You also should be checked if you have:

  • cardiovascular (heart) disease, or
  • a mother, father, sister, or brother with kidney failure.

How will I be checked for kidney disease?

Two tests are used to check for kidney disease.

  • A blood test checks your GFR, which tells how well your kidneys are filtering. GFR stands for glomerular (glow-MAIR-you-lure) filtration rate.
  • A urine test checks for albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged.


Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two main causes of kidney disease. About 7 out of 10 people with kidney failure have one or both of these conditions.


Steps you can take to keep your kidneys healthy

  1. Manage your diabetes and keep your blood pressure below 130/80. That means eating healthy and cutting back on salt. It also means being active and taking medicines as prescribed.
  2. Get checked for kidney disease. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner it can be treated.

At your next health care visit, make sure you learn:

  • Your blood pressure
  • Your GFR
  • The amount of albumin in your urine
  • Your blood glucose


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