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1 in 10 Canadians has kidney disease. Answer these 10 questions. Find out if you may be ONE.

If you have diabetes

  • Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease as uncontrolled blood sugar levels can damage the delicate filtering system of your kidneys.
  • As many as 50% of people with diabetes may show signs of kidney damage.
  • If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar level and adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising regularly, eating well and taking medications as prescribed, can help to preserve your kidney function.
  • Have an A1C test at least twice a year to measure how well your blood sugar levels are managed. Have your doctor check your kidney function at least once a year. This will involve two tests: a serum creatinine and a urinalysis to look for protein.
  • Read more about diabetes and kidney disease here

If you have high blood pressure

  • High blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease. Over time, high blood pressure can damage the delicate filtering system of your kidneys. To protect your kidneys aim to keep your blood pressure below 120/80mm/hg (130/80mm/hg if you also have diabetes).
  • Adopting a lifestyle that includes taking medications as prescribed, exercising regularly and following a healthy eating plan can help you control your blood pressure.
  • As part of your routine checkup ask your doctor for two simple tests to see how well your kidneys are functioning. These will include a blood test to check your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a urine test to check for protein.
  • To learn about how to reduce sodium in your diet see our low sodium factsheet.
  • For great tasting, low sodium recipes that can help you manage your sodium intake go to: www.kidneycommunitykitchen.ca.

If you have some type of blood vessel (vascular) disease

  • Vascular disease is mainly caused by inflammation and hardening of your artery walls. When the arteries that lead to your kidneys are affected, there is less blood flowing to your kidneys and this can cause damage.
  • To reduce your risk, maintain a healthy weight by getting enough exercise and following a healthy eating plan. Speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian about a healthy eating plan that is right for you.
  • As part of your routine checkup ask your doctor for two simple tests to see how well your kidneys are functioning. These will include a blood test to check your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a urine test to check for protein.

If you have a family history of kidney disease

  • If your mother, father, sister, or brother have kidney disease you are also at higher risk for kidney disease. This is because some kidney diseases are inherited and passed from one generation to another.
  • As part of your routine checkup ask your doctor for two simple tests to see how well your kidneys are functioning. These will include a blood test to check your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a urine test to check for protein.
  • There is more information available about Polycystic Kidney Disease at www.kidney.ca.

If you are of Aboriginal, Asian, South Asian, African-Caribbean, or Hispanic descent

  • Some ethnic groups are more likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
  • To reduce your risk, maintain a healthy weight by getting enough exercise and following a healthy eating plan. Speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian about a healthy eating plan that is right for you.
  • As part of your routine checkup ask your doctor for two simple tests to see how well your kidneys are functioning. These will include a blood test to check your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a urine test to check for protein.

If you are a smoker

  • Smoking can affect the health of your kidneys and keep them from working properly.
  • If you quit smoking it can stop or reverse the damage done to your kidneys.
  • Quitting can be hard but there are a lot of supports to help you stop smoking. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medication, resources and support that might work for you.

If you are overweight or obese

  • Adults who have unhealthy weights are at an increased risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, which are the two leading causes of kidney failure. Speak to your doctor about having your blood sugar and blood pressure checked.
  • In individuals affected by obesity, the kidneys have to work harder, filtering more blood than normal. The increase in function can damage the kidney and raise the risk of developing kidney disease.
  • A weight loss of even 5-10% of weight can have tremendous health benefits. Getting regular exercise and following a healthy eating plan can help maintain a healthy weight. Speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian about a healthy eating plan that is right for you.

If you regularly take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and/or take it often over a long period of time

  • Taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen regularly and/or over an extended period of time can cause kidney damage.
  • If you use these medications regularly for pain such as arthritis or back pain, speak with your doctor or your pharmacist to find out if it is safe for you to take them.

If you have had a urine test that was positive for blood or protein

  • When your kidneys are working well, waste products in the blood are filtered out to form urine. If the filters in your kidneys are damaged, proteins from your blood may end up in your urine.
  • An abnormally high amount of protein in your urine (proteinuria) may indicate something is wrong with your kidneys.
  • If you’ve had proteinuria speak with your doctor about getting a test to see how well your kidneys are functioning.

If you have had multiple kidney stones, multiple urine infections, kidney surgery, enlarged prostate gland, cancer of the prostate gland, and/or bladder cancer

  • If you’ve had problems with your urinary system such as frequent kidney stones, frequent urine infections or cancer, you may have put excess strain on your kidneys.
  • As part of your routine checkup ask your Doctor for two simple tests to see how well your kidneys are functioning. These will include a blood test to check your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a urine test to check for protein.
  • There is information available about urinary tract infections and preventing the reoccurrence of kidney stones at www.kidney.ca.


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