BHealthy Blog

Understanding Your Risk for Kidney Disease

Strong, healthy kidneys are essential to living your healthiest life. In fact, when kidneys aren’t functioning properly or a person develops chronic kidney disease (CKD), it can result in a range of serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, weak bones, nerve damage, kidney failure or anemia. Take care of your kidneys – and protect them from CKD – by following the tips below.

Know what your kidneys do.

To grasp the importance of caring for your kidneys, you must first understand the vital role they play in a range of your body’s most important functions, including:

– Regulating your body’s fluid levels

– Filtering out toxins from the blood

– Releasing hormones to regulate blood pressure

– Activating Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones

– Balancing minerals in the blood

Understand your risk.

Evaluate your risk of developing CKD to make more informed decisions about both your lifestyle and healthcare.

The four main risk factors of CKD are:

– Diabetes

– High blood pressure

– Cardiovascular disease

– Family history of kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure

Other risk factors include:

– Being of African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander descent

– Being age 60 or older

– Obesity

– Low birth weight

– Prolonged use of NSAID painkillers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen

– Lupus

– Chronic urinary tract infections

– Kidney stones

Look out for symptoms.

If you develop a CKD, it is critical you begin treatment immediately. If you notice any of the below symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

– Fatigue

– Difficulty or pain with urination

– Pink, dark urine, or blood in urine

– Foamy or fizzy urine

– Excessive thirst

– Increased need to urinate

– Puffy eyes

– Swelling in the face, hands, abdomen, ankles or feet

Consider getting a kidney health screening.

If you are at risk for or are displaying symptoms of CKD, talk to your doctor about taking a blood or urine test to measure your protein and creatinine levels – too much of either can indicate kidney problems.

Healthy kidneys are necessary for a healthy life, and at Baptist Health, we offer the services, treatments and resources you need to keep yours in good condition. If you’d like to discuss your kidney health with a specialist, request an appointment with one of our expert physicians.