Myth #2: I feel well, so my kidneys must be working fine.
As I wrote in response to the first myth, most pain in the kidney region has nothing to do with the kidneys (they’re just the fall guys!). To add to the confusion, most people with early or mild kidney disease have no symptoms at all. What the what?! So how do we detect and prevent kidney disease?
Most cases of chronic kidney disease are caused by other conditions, like diabetes (high blood sugar) and hypertension (high blood pressure). To keep your kidneys healthy, the first step is to go to your doctor for your regular check-ups and make sure your blood sugar and blood pressure are where they should be.
If you already know you have diabetes, hypertension or another chronic condition, keeping it well controlled though diet, exercise and prescribed medications will help prevent kidney disease. Ask your doctor how often you need lab tests to check your kidney function!
Sometimes, kidney disease does cause symptoms. These might include persistent swelling in the legs or hands, urine that's very foamy (like beer foam) or blood in the urine. Someone with severe kidney disease might feel fatigue, weakness and confusion. Any of these symptoms should prompt a visit to your doctor.
For the most part, the only way to know if your kidneys are working well is to do blood and urine tests. These tests are usually done to monitor complications in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions. People who feel healthy and have no major medical problems generally do not need to have their kidneys checked.
Stay tuned for myth #3!
This blog provides general information which is not intended to be and should not be construed as medical advice. Talk to your family doctor about any medical concerns and to get more information on this subject.