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Routine Medical Screenings: What and When?

As someone with chronic kidney disease (CKD), you may see your nephrologist frequently to check on your kidney function. But you should also see your primary care doctor for a routine medical screening every year.

Annual medical exams are important for someone with kidney disease to help lessen the risk of developing comorbidities. A medical screening can help detect health problems, such as cancer or bone disease, so you can begin treatment sooner than if undetected. Annual medical exams may also help prevent health issues, such as vision or hearing loss. Think of a routine medical screening as a yearly checkup on your overall well-being.

Talk with your doctor about the medical screenings below and schedule any necessary appointments to have these tests done.

Medical Screenings for Kidney Disease

If you have CKD, you need to have certain tests or exams done by your nephrologist. The frequency of how often you'll have these tests performed depends on the stage of your kidney disease and is up to the discretion of your doctor. These tests may include:

Medical screenings for your overall health

Annual medical screenings are an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Depending on your age and gender, you can expect different things from a routine medical screening. See the list below for an overview, and learn more by talking to your primary care doctor.

Age 18-39

  • Blood pressure
  • BMI (body mass index) and weight
  • Cholesterol
  • Dental exam 
  • Eye exam
  • Immunizations
  • STD (sexually transmitted disease) screening
  • Testicular exam (men)
  • Breast exam (women)
  • Pelvic exam and Pap smear (women)

Age 40-64

  • Blood pressure
  • BMI and weight
  • Cholesterol, including HDL, LDL and triglycerides
  • Colonoscopy for colon cancer or polyps
  • Dental exam
  • Eye exam
  • Immunizations
  • Physical exam
  • Prostate exam (men)
  • Breast exam and mammogram (women)
  • Pelvic exam and Pap smear (women)
  • Osteoporosis

Age 65 and older

  • Blood pressure
  • BMI and weight
  • Cholesterol
  • Colonoscopy
  • Dental exam
  • Eye exam
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening (for men who smoke)
  • Hearing
  • Immunizations
  • Physical exam
  • Prostate exam (men)
  • Breast exam and mammogram (women)
  • Pelvic exam and Pap smear (women)
  • Osteoporosis

Looking out for your well-being

In order to remain healthy when you have CKD, you should make a point to schedule a routine medical screening every year. As you get older, more tests and exams are recommended, but routine medical screenings, along with monitoring your kidney disease, can help detect and prevent other medical issues. Use a checklist for each exam, eat a kidney-friendly diet and stay on top of your prescribed medicines to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

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