National Kidney Month

Kidneys are the workhorses of the urinary tract, filtering waste from the bloodstream and keeping your body moving. These bean-shaped organs keep the composition, or makeup, of blood stable, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Think of them as regulating filters for your body. When these filters go bad, your body suffers. The most prominent risk comes in the form of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

CKD affects nearly 30 million Americans, making it more common than diabetes. If you have CKD, that means your kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood properly. As a result, waste builds up in your body, which can lead to numerous health complications. Conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease all increase your risk for CKD, according to NIDDK. The most alarming part of CKD is that there are no signs or symptoms until the disease is very advanced. The only way to check for CKD is through blood and urine tests.

Talk to your doctor about getting a blood and urine test for CKD. Your doctor will be able to assess your health status and will tell you if a test is necessary based on your lifestyle and current conditions.