People living with diabetes are at a higher risk of kidney disease and kidney failure but managing diabetes and having regular checks can help to reduce the risk.
Kidney disease occurs when the nephrons inside your kidneys, which filter your blood, are damaged. This leads to the build-up of waste and fluids inside the body. If kidney disease is not diagnosed, it can lead to serious complications including kidney failure, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant. However if it is diagnosed early by having regular checks there are steps you can take to look after your kidneys and keep you feeling your best for as long as possible.
When should I have the recommended checks?
Your doctor should arrange for you to have a kidney health check at least once a year. This may be more often if you require more frequent monitoring.
What does this test involve?
There are three parts to a kidney health check.
- A blood test to find out how well your nephrons are filtering waste products from your blood.
- This test estimates what is called your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).
- A urine test to check for albuminuria (a type of protein) or blood in your urine.
- A blood pressure check.
If your doctor suspects you have kidney disease, then a renal ultrasound may also be arranged. This will detect any problems in the size and structure of your kidneys. Depending on the outcome of this test, further tests or procedures may be required and you may be asked to see a kidney specialist (a nephrologist).
What can I do to lower my risk of kidney disease?
Keeping your blood glucose levels and your blood pressure within your target ranges will help you to reduce your risk of kidney disease. If you smoke, you should also try to quit.