While the majority of Americans can recite the common tests for breast and prostate cancer, not many know the risk factors and tests that could keep them off of dialysis and the transplant list.
The National Kidney Foundation is urging Americans to learn these risk factors, including:
1. Diabetes: The leading cause of kidney failure in the United States.
2. High blood pressure: The second leading cause of kidney disease.
3. Family history of kidney failure: If your family has a history of kidney failure, you are at increased risk.
4. Age over 60: Being over the age of 60 is one of the main risk factors for developing kidney disease and kidney failure.
5. Kidney stones: Studies have shown that a history of kidney stones is associated with the development of kidney disease.
STEPS TO TAKE
Anyone with the above risk factors should be tested to check kidney function, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Simple steps such as controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, keeping weight down, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and avoiding excessive use of pain medicine, can help reduce your risk.
Because kidney disease often has no symptoms, it can go undetected until it is very advanced. Protein in the urine is the earliest marker of kidney damage. Simple urine and blood tests done annually can save people’s health. Early detection can slow or prevent progression of kidney disease. Untreated, kidney disease can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Source: National Kidney Foundation (kidney.org)