Scheduling a Kidney Screening
Could you or someone you care about have chronic kidney disease (CKD)? More than 20 million people over the age of 20 in the United States have kidney disease. Risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Family history of kidney disease
- Minority groups (African American, Asian American, Hispanic Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans)
- Age of 65 or older
If you may be at risk for kidney disease, consider scheduling a kidney screening with your primary care physician (PCP) for your next checkup. No cost screenings are offered in some areas as well. To learn more about screenings, you may want to contact The Kidney TRUST™, an organization aimed at increasing awareness of kidney disease through public education and testing programs, to learn more.
What is involved in a kidney screening?
Because there are often no symptoms of kidney disease, laboratory tests are critical. When you get a screening, a trained technician will draw blood that will be tested for creatinine, a waste product. If kidney function is abnormal, creatinine levels will increase in the blood due to decreased excretion of creatinine in the urine. Your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which indicates the person’s stage of CKD, will also be calculated. The GFR factors in age, gender, creatinine level and ethnicity. Together, the results provide an evaluation of kidney function.
What to do when you get your results
If the screening shows that kidney function is normal, you’re in good shape. Nonetheless, be sure to schedule regular kidney screenings to monitor risk for developing kidney disease.
If you learn that you have CKD, there are many resources to help you manage it. In many cases, kidney failure can be prevented or delayed through early detection and proper treatment of underlying diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. You can also help delay the progression of kidney disease by:
- Adhering to an eating plan with the right amounts of sodium, fluid and protein
- Avoiding dehydration
For people who are ready to consider dialysis treatment options, learn more about working with a doctor. Your doctor will work with you to identify the treatment options to better fit your lifestyle.
Do something good for your kidneys. Schedule a kidney screening today.
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