About Chronic Kidney Disease - Minnesota Department of Health

About Chronic Kidney Disease

What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means your kidneys have been damaged and are gradually losing the ability to filter your blood and get rid of the body’s wastes. CKD usually happens slowly and may grow worse over a long period of time. It cannot be cured, but you and your doctor can take action to slow down kidney damage and delay kidney failure.

Who is at risk?

People with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney disease are the most likely to have CKD. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1 of 3 adults with diabetes and 1 of 5 adults with high blood pressure may have CKD.

If you have diabetes, get tested for kidney disease every year. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of  kidney disease or kidney failure, ask your health care provider about how often you should get tested for kidney disease.

People who have experienced serious illness from COVID-19 may have kidney damage. If you were hospitalized for COVID-19, talk to your doctor about your risk for kidney damage and what to do to protect your kidneys.

Learn more about kidney disease and COVID_19 and additional steps to protect yourself during COVID-19.   

What are the symptoms of chronic kidney disease?

In the early stages of the disease, people usually do not experience symptoms. As kidney damage continues, people with CKD may experience:

  • Itching
  • Muscle cramps or pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling less hungry
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Too much urine (pee) or not enough urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble sleeping

If your kidneys stop working suddenly (acute kidney failure), you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  •     Abdominal (belly) pain
  •     Back pain
  •     Diarrhea
  •     Fever
  •     Nosebleeds
  •     Rash
  •     Vomiting

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away to talk about your risk for CKD and if you should be tested for kidney damage.

Learn more about kidney disease symptoms from the National Kidney Fund

How do I know if I have chronic kidney disease?

Testing is the only way to know how well your kidneys are working. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you and your doctor can take action to help protect your kidneys.

How do I manage chronic kidney disease?

Work with your doctor and health care team to make a treatment plan.  Ask your doctor about how often to test your kidneys. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, ask your doctor about how to improve your blood sugar and blood pressure control. High blood sugar and high blood pressure damage blood vessels in the kidneys.

Find out if you need to start medicines to help control your high blood pressure or diabetes to  slow the progression of kidney disease.

People with CKD can take action to slow down damage to their kidneys:

  • Avoid NSAID medications like Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen). Ask your doctor about other ways to control your pain.
  • Avoid over the counter supplements unless approved by your doctor. Take medicines, vitamins, and minerals exactly the way your provider tells you to.
  • Eat healthy foods. Lower salt, sugar, and phosphorous in your diet by eating less processed and pre-packaged foods. Make a healthy eating plan with your health care team.
  • Ask your doctor if you need to lose weight. Work with your health care team to make a safe weight loss plan.
  • Try to stop using tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, or vapes.
  • Manage stress.

Learn more about living with CKD from the Centers for Disease Control

What can be done to prevent chronic kidney disease?

Talk with your doctor and health care team to learn about your risk for CKD.

There are steps you can take that may help lower your risk:

  • Keep your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers at a healthy level.
  • Take medications as directed by your doctor.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Eat a kidney-healthy diet and get 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
  • Try to stop using tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, or vapes.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Manage stress.

Many behaviors that help manage CKD can also help prevent it.

Learn more about healthy living to keep your kidneys in good health from the Centers for Disease Control.

What resources can support living well with chronic kidney disease?

Live Well classes

Living well with chronic disease programs can help people living with CKD make lifestyle changes, gain skills to meet health goals, and connect with other people with the same condition. Classes to help people with diabetes management or heart health can also help people with chronic kidney disease. Some classes are offered in different languages or in a virtual format. Some classes are free; others may be covered by insurance.

Learn more and find classes at Your Juniper.   

Physical activity

If you also suffer from joint pain, consider Walk with Ease to help you manage pain and increase your physical activity. Physical activity can help manage CKD. The program can be offered in a self-directed format or with a coach and helps you walk more.

Find a class and learn more about Walk with Ease.

Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES)

People living with diabetes meet 1-on-1 with a certified diabetes care and education specialist. You will learn more about diabetes, setting goals, medications, and medical device guidance. This can help you manage your diabetes and CKD, or take steps to prevent further kidney damage.

Learn more about Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support

National Diabetes Prevention Program

If you have CKD and prediabetes, the National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you gain skills to make and keep lifestyle changes like managing stress, eating healthier, and moving more. The National Diabetes Prevention Program can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Learn more about the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

Updated Friday, 19-Aug-2022 08:16:19 CDT