U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

The steps you take to keep your kidneys healthy help the rest of your body too. Talk to your health care provider to find out the steps that are right for you.

If you are at risk for kidney disease, the most important steps you can take to keep your kidneys healthy are:

Tips to help keep your kidneys healthy:


An image of an older, African-American couple walking in a neighborhood
  • Keep your blood pressure at the target set by your health care provider. For most people, the blood pressure target is less than 140/90 mm Hg. This can delay or prevent kidney failure.
  • If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose level.
  • Keep your cholesterol levels in the target range.
  • Take medicines the way your provider tells you to. (Important! Certain blood pressure medicines called ACE inhibitors and ARBs may protect your kidneys. Ask your health care provider for more information.)
  • Cut back on salt. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.
  • Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Be more physically active.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • If you smoke, take steps to quit. Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse.

When you see your provider, ask:

  • What is my GFR?
  • What is my urine albumin result?
  • What is my blood pressure?
  • What is my blood glucose (for people with diabetes)?

Find more questions to bring to your next medical visit.

Read about what to do if you have kidney disease.

Videos

Videos

How do you check for kidney disease?
How do you check for kidney disease? (0:45)

A doctor explains the two tests for chronic kidney disease (CKD): blood test, which checks your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), and a urine test.

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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.


September 17, 2014​​​​

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