Test your kidney knowledge

Do you know what you don’t know about your kidneys and kidney disease? Empower yourself and get the facts about kidney disease — how to prevent it, how to treat it, and more — when you answer the following 10 simple questions.

This quiz is purely informational and should not take the place of consultation with your physician or any medical diagnosis.

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Question 1 What is the role of your kidneys in your body?

Your kidneys filter waste and extra water (fluid) out of your blood to make urine (pee). Every day your kidneys filter about 30 gallons of blood to remove about two quarts (half a gallon) of extra water and waste products. Some of their other jobs include: controlling chemicals and fluid in your body, helping to control your blood pressure, helping to keep your bones healthy and helping you make red blood cells.

To get more information about your kidneys, download the American Kidney Fund’s free “Know How Your Kidneys Keep Your Heart Healthy” infographic that’s available at KidneyFund.org.

Question 2 What can cause kidney failure?

In most cases, kidney failure is caused by other health problems that have done permanent damage (harm) to your kidneys over time. Diabetes is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). High blood pressure is the second most common cause of ESRD. Other problems that can cause kidney failure include: autoimmune diseases, genetic diseases (diseases you are born with), nephrotic syndrome, and urinary tract problems.

Question 3 Is kidney failure preventable?

Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent kidney disease or help keep it under control. Also, if you have kidney disease, finding out early that your kidneys are not working as well as they should can give you the chance to prevent kidney failure.

To help lower your risk for kidney disease and provide information about the problems that cause it, the American Kidney Fund offers free kidney health screenings, nutrition and fitness presentations and public education materials. Find a screening near you and learn more about preventing kidney failure at KidneyFund.org.

Question 4 Who is at risk for chronic kidney disease or kidney failure?

Kidney disease is most often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure. Both of these health problems can cause permanent damage to your kidneys which is called chronic kidney disease (CKD). Other common risk factors include: heart disease, having a family member who has/had kidney disease, being African-American, Asian, Native American or Hispanic, or being over the age of 60.

For tips on how to prevent kidney disease — or how to keep kidney damage from getting worse — visit KidneyFund.org to access the American Kidney Fund’s free online articles, infographics and information.

Question 5 How many people are diagnosed with kidney failure each year?

More than 120,000 Americans develop kidney failure each year. If you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. There is no cure for ESRD, but many people live long lives while having dialysis or after having a kidney transplant.

The American Kidney Fund offers a complete spectrum of free programs and services, including prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance — all of which enable 1 out of every 6 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. Learn more at KidneyFund.org.

Question 6 How many people with kidney disease are on dialysis?

Over 500,000 Americans with kidney failure depend on dialysis for survival. Hemodialysis uses a machine to clean your blood, and it can be done at a dialysis center or at home. Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment that uses the lining of your abdomen (belly area) and a cleaning solution called dialysate to clean your blood. Peritoneal dialysis may be done at home or even at work if you have a suitable area.

The American Kidney Fund’s program called FIRST30 helps walk you through dialysis with video testimonials and a free downloadable, printable checklist of important questions to ask. Learn more at KidneyFund.org.

Question 7 How many people in the Unites States are living with kidney disease?

37 million Americans are living with kidney disease. The American Kidney Fund's vision is a world without kidney disease. Until that day comes, we believe every kidney patient should have access to health care, and every person at risk for kidney disease should be empowered to prevent it.

There are many ways you can help make a difference — from gifts of support to promoting kidney disease awareness in your community to joining our online fundraising community, KidneyNation! Learn more at KidneyFund.org.

Question 8 What percentage of dialysis patients are unable to work?

Approximately 75% of working-age dialysis patients in America are unemployed. Last year, the American Kidney Fund provided financial assistance to 1 out of every 6 of the nation’s dialysis patients to maintain their health insurance coverage and to afford other critical expenses related to obtaining life-sustaining dialysis treatment.

The charitable gifts of friends like you help save lives and make the work of the American Kidney Fund possible. Find out how you can help make a difference for kidney patients at KidneyFund.org.

Question 9 Are there things a person can do to keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse?

Although the damage to kidneys cannot be fixed, you can take steps to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible for as long as possible. You may even be able to stop the damage from getting worse.

The American Kidney Fund recommends a healthy lifestyle that includes: controlling your blood sugar if you have diabetes, keeping a healthy blood pressure, eating foods low in salt and saturated and trans fat, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking or using tobacco, limiting alcohol intake, and talking to your doctor about medicines that can help protect your kidneys.

Question 10 What is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States?

Kidney disease is the nation’s 9th leading cause of death.

These statistics point to the incredible need that exists for the American Kidney Fund. Despite the enormous toll this disease is taking on our nation’s health and economy, there is hope. We have developed advocacy outreach, public policy efforts, and strategic partnerships to support improvements in the quality of care for people living with kidney failure, and to advance awareness and prevention of chronic kidney disease.