Monitoring Kidney Health
Your healthcare provider will check the health of your kidneys. That way, treatment can be adjusted if your condition changes. If you have other health problems that affect your kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, they will be checked also.
Your healthcare provider may want to see you every few months. This is to see how well your kidneys are working. Your visits may include any of these tests:
- Urine tests. These measure the amount of creatinine (a waste product) your kidneys are able to filter into your urine. A complete 24-hour collection may be used to measure how well your kidneys are working. In some cases, kidney damage may cause protein to leak into your urine. The 24-hour urine collection can measure this. Your doctor may do a spot urine test before asking you to collect your urine for 24 hours.
- Blood tests. These tests measure wastes, such as blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, left in the blood. You may need to have other blood tests to check for other health problems caused by reduced kidney function. These include:
- Lower blood counts (anemia)
- Weakening of bones (hyperparathyroidism)
- Lower vitamin D levels
- Higher blood phosphorus levels.
- Imaging tests. These will show damage to the kidneys and blood vessels. Be sure to to tell the radiologist (X-ray specialist) that you have kidney disease. Some X-ray tests use dyes that can be harmful to your kidneys.
To maintain health
Be a partner in your care. Try the tips below to help maintain your health.
- Stick to your diet. People with kidney disease may need to follow a special diet. You may need to avoid foods that are high in salt, potassium, and phosphorus. You may have to discuss your diet with a nutrition specialist (dietitian). Control other health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and anemia.
- Talk to your doctor before taking any new medicines, either prescription or over-the-counter, or herbal remedies. Many medicines are eliminated from the body through the kidneys. Your doses may need to be adjusted, depending on how your kidneys are working. Also, some medicines can hurt kidney function and need to be avoided.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can increase kidney damage.
- Get regular exercise to help you stay healthy and may your kidneys functioning longer.