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122140539_MHave you been tested for Chronic Kidney Disease? It’s estimated that CKD affects more than 1 in 7 adults nationwide — that’s 15% of U.S. adults or about 37 million people. Yet about 90% of those who have this condition don’t even know they have it.

Early detection and treatment are critical. It can significantly slow the progression of CKD, so it’s important to get tested — or have a loved one tested — if there’s a high risk of developing the condition.

What puts someone at high risk of developing CKD? Diabetes and high blood pressure are two conditions that can often lead to kidney disease, which means patients who have either of these conditions are at a higher risk and should be screened. A family history of either diabetes or high blood pressure is also a risk factor. If you have cardiovascular disease or have a family history of cardiovascular disease, you also could be at risk of developing CKD. A family history of kidney disease is another notable risk factor.

There are other conditions and traits that can predispose someone to develop CKD. Chronic urinary tract infections or kidney stones may put you at higher risk, as does prolonged use of NSAIDs. African Americans, Native Americans, and those of Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are more likely to develop CKD. Patients who are over 60 or who are obese are also more likely to experience kidney failure as well. Maintaining a healthy weight and a kidney-friendly diet can go a long way to reducing your risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease or managing the condition and delaying its progression if you develop it.

While there are typically no symptoms of kidney disease, there are some warning signs that might signal the onset of CKD:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Itching
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • No appetite
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Too much urine or not enough urine
  • Sleeplessness

In other cases, however, there are no noticeable symptoms. The most important thing you can do is get tested, especially if you are considered at high risk. Get the facts about kidney disease. And always keep in mind that a healthy diet and exercise go a long way to reducing your risk of kidney disease and a host of other health conditions. Talk to your physician if you’re at risk. Kidneys benefit from a low-salt, low-fat diet, regular exercise, regular checkups, no smoking or tobacco use and limited alcohol consumption.