Diabetes and high blood pressure aren't the only things that can cause kidney disease. Another common risk for kidney disease is having heart (cardiovascular) disease.
Having a family history of kidney disease puts you at higher risk for developing kidney disease. Being over age 60 increases your risk, as does being African American, Asian American, Native American, or of Hispanic ethnicity.
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You need your kidneys to live, just like you need your heart, lungs and liver. Your kidneys filter waste, regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells, and keep bones healthy.
Given all of those important jobs, it's no wonder that when your kidneys aren't working as well as they should, your overall health begins to decline. When your kidneys have been permanently damaged for some reason and aren't functioning as well as they should, it's called chronic kidney disease, or kidney disease for short.
Kidney disease affects as many as 31 million people in the United States. Nine out of 10 people with early kidney disease don't know they have it. It has few warning signs in the early stages, and because it can progress for years if not detected, it can have a devastating health impact, leading to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death. The good news is that most cases of kidney disease could be prevented.
Managing diabetes and high blood pressure can help you to prevent kidney disease. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, work with your doctor to manage those conditions.
Kidney disease often has no symptoms. Testing is the only way to know how well your kidneys are working. If you're at risk, talk to your doctor about getting tested, and encourage your at-risk loved ones to do the same. Testing is simple: a blood test and a urine test. If kidney disease is found, when it's caught and treated early, it can often be stopped or slowed.