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Monitoring Kidney Health

 Your doctor will monitor the health of your kidneys. That way, treatment can be adjusted if your condition changes. If you have other health problems that affect the kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, they will be monitored also.

Blood Pressure

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Creatinine Level

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BUN Level

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Keep AppointmentsHealth care provider taking blood sample from woman's arm.

To check how well your kidneys are working, your doctor may want to see you every few months. Your visits may include any of these tests:

  • Urine tests 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 measure wastes, such as blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, left in the blood.

  • Imaging tests show damage to the kidneys and blood vessels. Be sure to inform any radiologist (X-ray specialist) that you have kidney disease. Some X-ray tests use dyes that can be harmful to your kidneys.

  • Other blood tests may be ordered because reduced kidney function can lead to many other health problems. These include lower blood counts (anemia), weakening of bones (hyperparathyroidism), lower vitamin D levels, and higher blood phosphorus levels. Your doctor might order several blood tests on a regular basis to measure and treat these conditions. 

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 (dietician). Control other health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and anemia.

  • Take your blood pressure at home on a regular basis. Call your doctor if any pressures are too high or too low. 

  • Talk to your doctor before taking any new medications, either prescription or over-the-counter, or herbal remedies. Many medications are eliminated from the body through the kidneys. Your doses may need to be adjusted, depending on how your kidneys are working. Also, some medications can hurt kidney function and need to be avoided.

  • Stop smoking. Smoking can increase kidney damage.

  • Regular exercise can help you stay healthy and may keep your kidneys functioning longer. 


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