The kidneys are two organs located in your abdominal cavity on either side of your spine in the middle of your back, just above the waist. They perform several life-sustaining roles: They cleanse your blood by removing waste and excess fluid, maintain the balance of salt and minerals in your blood, and help regulate blood pressure.
When the kidneys become damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in the body, causing swelling in your ankles, vomiting, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of...
Since diabetes and high blood pressure put you at risk of kidney disease, know where you stand with these risks. Do you have diabetes or high blood pressure? If so, are they under control?
If you can, find out if diabetes, hypertension, or kidney disease runs in your family. Certain ethnic groups, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans are at higher risk of chronic kidney disease, as are senior citizens.
Get Tested Regularly
At your next checkup, and at least within the next year if you haven't had these tests done:
Ask for a blood pressure reading, to see if your blood pressure is elevated.
Ask for a fastingblood glucose test, to see if you have too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. Another blood test that can be used to determine diabetes is a hemoglobin A1C which will indicate your average blood glucose level over the past two to three months.
Ask for a creatinine test. This blood test measures the amount of waste from muscle activity. When the kidneys are not working properly, the creatinine rises.
If any of these tests are abnormal, your health care provider will need to do other tests to more clearly define the problem.
If you have diabetes, work with your health care provider to keep your blood sugar levels under the best possible control. A program of diet, regular exercise, glucose monitoring, and medications to control blood sugars and protect kidney function can help.