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Ask the Dietitian: I have family history of CKD. How can I protect my kidneys?

Question:

I have family members with kidney disease. Is there anything I can do to keep my kidneys healthy?


Answer:

This is a great question because people with a family history of kidney disease are at high risk of developing kidney disease. There are ways to take care of your kidneys to reduce your risk of kidney disease. One of the best ways to prevent kidney disease is to manage health conditions that contribute to kidney disease. The most common two are high blood pressure and diabetes. If you have either or both of those conditions, make sure to regularly meet with your provider and work together on a treatment plan that will help you get or keep your numbers in goal. It is important to know that as we age, our kidney function will naturally decline, and the focus may shift from reducing the risk of developing kidney disease to maintaining your current level of kidney health. Other things you can do are to make healthy food choices, engage in physical activity, aim for a health weight, get enough sleep, stop smoking, moderate alcohol intake, and reduce your stress. You can learn more about each of these lifestyle factors here. In addition to lifestyle factors, make sure to talk with your doctor about screening for kidney disease during your yearly physical. People living with high risk conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes should be regularly screened for kidney disease. If you are in Illinois, you can check out one of our free screening events held throughout the state.

Got a question for Dr. Melissa Prest?

Send it to her at mprest@nkfi.org and she may answer it on the blog!

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