Your urine is probably not something you think about often. But it’s actually the easiest and most effective way to catch the start of kidney damage. Like with other diseases, early detection is the key to reducing your risk of progressing to permanent kidney disease or kidney failure. This opportunity for prevention is even more important because early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms. Symptoms show up only after permanent damage has already occurred.
Urine testing is quick, easy, and non-invasive. It is low cost and is generally covered by insurance. It is used to detect protein in the urine, which is not normal. Your kidneys have tiny filters which usually do not allow protein to pass through them. If protein is present in the urine this may indicate that they are damaged. Your healthcare provider will follow up if you do have protein in your urine. There may be other causes so kidney damage will need to be confirmed with further testing.
The good news is that even if you have protein in your urine, there are many things you can do to stop it. Changes in diet and lifestyle habits, along with the right medications and treatment plan, can either stop or slow the progression of kidney disease! This is especially important for people who are already at risk to develop kidney disease, namely people with diabetes and/or high blood pressure, family history of kidney disease, and people over 60 years old.
- Early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms. The only way to know if you have kidney disease is to first have your urine tested for albumin.
- Kidney disease does not go away. It may get worse over time and can lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you may need to go on dialysis or have a kidney transplant.
- Kidney disease can be treated. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can get treatment to help delay or prevent kidney failure. Treating kidney disease may also help prevent heart disease.
- Discuss urine testing with your healthcare provider, or find one of NKF’s Keep Healthy events, where you can receive free urine testing and much more!