Article

Kidney disease prevention

woman talking to doctor
Learn how to prevent kidney disease by learning what your kidneys do and finding out the risk factors for kidney disease.
Medically reviewed by
AKF's Medical Advisory Committee
Last updated
November 22, 2021

Good health makes it possible to experience all the special moments in life.

And just like you need your heart, lungs and liver, you need your kidneys to live. Most Americans with kidney disease are not even aware they have it. You will not feel symptoms until your kidneys are badly damaged.

Knowing what causes kidney disease — and knowing what actions you can take to prevent it — can help you live your best life.

Here are 5 things you should know about kidney disease:

  • People with diabetes and high blood pressure are most at risk for kidney disease.
  • There are no symptoms in the early stages of kidney disease.
  • Kidney disease means permanent damage to the kidneys that cannot be reversed.

But

  • If kidney disease is caught early, there are actions you and your doctor can take to keep it from getting worse.
  • The only way to know if you have kidney disease is to get a blood test and a urine test

 

Know what your kidneys do

Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in your lower back area. You need at least one healthy kidney to keep your body working the way it should. Your kidneys help control your blood pressure and help keep your bones healthy.

 However, the kidneys' most important job is to clean out the waste from your blood. If your kidneys do not work, or do not work well enough, they cannot get rid of the waste in your body. If your kidneys stop working, known as having kidney failure, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

black male doctor older

Talk to your doctor today about prevention and treatment

Your doctor can help you create a plan to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Ask your doctor about: 

  • Testing how well your kidneys are working with a blood test and a urine test  
  • What a healthy weight is for you and tips on how to lose weight and maintain your weight in a healthy way 
  • Recommendations for a kidney-friendly food and fluid plan  
  • How much exercise you should be including in your daily routine 
  • Any medicines that you should avoid  
  • Advice on how to quit smoking or using tobacco products if you are an active smoker 

Be proactive in knowing about your kidneys and ways to protect them. No one should be more invested in protecting them than you!