Health Watch -- Detecting Kidney Disease

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Screening for kidney disease could save your kidneys - and your life.

It's time to talk about kidney problems that affect a lot of people. High blood pressure and diabetes are becoming more common in this country, especially with more and more people overweight and obese. These conditions can lead to kidney failure.

That's why doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas urge anyone with high blood pressure or diabetes to be screened regularly for kidney disease. Dr. Ramesh Saxena, a UT Southwestern kidney specialist, says that chronic kidney disease can go undetected in its earliest stages.

If kidney disease is diagnosed early enough, doctors can take steps to keep kidney function from decreasing. If preventative measures aren't taken, kidney failure can occur. What's then required is dialysis or a kidney transplant. A test for protein in the urine can detect early stages of kidney disease. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you should ask about this test the next time you see your doctor.

The best way to keep your kidneys healthy is to prevent high blood pressure and diabetes by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Exercising and modifying your diet to avoid obesity are good ways to prevent kidney disease. As we learned earlier in the week, avoiding being overweight is also a good way to lower your risk for kidney stones.


April 2004