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If you know someone with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or if you’ve heard about it in the news, you may wonder about your own risk level. Here are five questions to ask your doctor to better understand your risk and how you may be able to lower it.
1. If my family has a history of CKD, am I at greater risk?
Tell your doctor about your family’s health history as well as lifestyle patterns, as these may put you at higher risk. It can be helpful to put together a list before your appointment.
2. What are the symptoms of CKD?
Your doctor can tell you about CKD symptoms including changes in urine/urination, fatigue, back pain, etc. However, CKD is called a “silent disease” as it often has no symptoms until later stages.
3. What tests diagnose CKD?
Your doctor will likely tell you CKD can be diagnosed with a blood test. This simple test can measure your blood’s creatinine level (a muscle waste product) to determine if the kidneys are filtering as they should. Your creatinine level can then be factored into determining your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). This is a measure of your kidney’s ability to filter blood, ultimately calculating the stage of kidney disease (1-5).
4. What are risk factors for CKD?
In the United States, the two main causes of CKD are diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). Other causes of CKD include medical, lifestyle and demographic factors. Ask your doctor about the different ways you should manage some of these risk factors.
5. How can I reduce my risk of CKD?
Ask your doctor for advice about lifestyle changes or maintenance behaviors to help lower your risk of CKD.
Need an extra push to start asking your doctors about CKD? Take the quick and simple DaVita.com Risk Quiz to determine your number of risk factors.
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