Kidney disease often has no symptoms until it is very far along. The only way to know how your kidneys are working is to get tested. This is very important for people who have diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease. If you catch and treat kidney disease early, you may be able to slow it down. Ask your doctor about tests to check your kidneys.
BLOOD TEST: EGFR
The eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) is a number based on your blood test for creatinine. It tells how well your kidneys are working. The eGFR is a good test, but it's not for everyone. For example, this test may not be accurate if you are younger than 18, pregnant, very overweight or very muscular. Talk to your doctor to find out if this test is right for you. When your kidneys are damaged, they may let protein leak into your urine. This can be one of the earliest signs of kidney disease.
DIPSTICK URINE TEST
A dipstick urine test tells your doctor if there is protein in your urine. Your doctor may test your urine in the office or ask you to bring a sample from home. If your first dipstick urine test shows protein in your urine, ask your doctor when you should be tested again. Also, ask if a Urine Albumin-to-Creatinine (UACR) test is right for you.
URINE ALBUMIN-TO-CREATININE RATIO
A UACR test tells your doctor how much albumin is in your urine. Your doctor will test your urine albumin (a type of protein) and creatinine (a kind of waste). Your doctor will compare these results to figure out your UACR. A normal UACR is less than 30mg/g¹. If your UACR is more than 30 mg/g, ask your doctor when you should be tested again.
The following lifestyle changes can help you prevent kidney disease :
Smoking increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks or strokes, and it can increase the likelihood that any existing kidney problems will get worse. If you stop smoking, you will improve your general health and reduce your risk of developing other serious conditions, such as lung cancer and heart disease.
HAVE A HEALTHY DIET
A healthy diet is important for preventing chronic kidney disease. It will lower the amount of cholesterol in your blood and keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (five portions a day) and whole grains. Limit the amount of salt in your diet to no more than 6g (0.2oz) a day. Too much salt will increase your blood pressure. One teaspoonful of salt is equal to about 6g. Avoid eating foods high in saturated fat because this will increase your cholesterol level. Foods high in saturated fat include: meat, butter, ghee, cream, cheese as well as cakes and biscuits. Eating some foods that are high in unsaturated fat can help decrease your cholesterol level. Foods high in unsaturated fat include: oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and olive oil.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol will cause your blood pressure to rise, as well as raising cholesterol levels in your blood. Therefore, sticking to the recommended alcohol consumption limits is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) and CKD.
Regular exercise should help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing CKD. At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as cycling or fast walking) every week, is recommended.
BE CAREFUL WITH PAINKILLERS
Kidney disease can be caused by the improper use (such as taking too many) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen. If you need to take painkillers, make sure you follow the instructions. This can help to avoid kidney damage. If you have a chronic (long-term) condition, such as diabetes, that could potentially cause chronic kidney disease, it is important it is carefully managed. Follow the advice of our physicians and keep all appointments relating to your condition. People with diabetes are advised to have their kidney function tested every year.