Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term condition where the kidneys don’t work as well as they should.
It’s a common condition often associated with getting older. It can affect anyone, but it’s more common in people who are black or of south Asian origin.
CKD can get worse over time and eventually the kidneys may stop working altogether, but this is uncommon. Many people with CKD are able to live long lives with the condition.
View our guide to CKD here: CKD Leaflet
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) cannot always be prevented, but you can take steps to reduce the chances of getting the condition.
Following the advice below can reduce your risk.
Manage underlying conditions
Follow the advice of your GP, take any medicine you’re prescribed and keep all appointments relating to your condition.
Stopping smoking will improve your general health and reduce your risk of these serious conditions.
The NHS Smokfree helpline can offer you advice and encouragement to help you quit smoking. Call 0300 123 1044 or visit the NHS Smokefree website.
Find out more about stopping smoking.
A healthy, balanced diet can reduce your risk of kidney disease by keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol at a healthy level.
A balanced diet should include:
- plenty of fruit and vegetables – aim for at least 5 portions a day
- meals that include starchy foods, such as potatoes, wholegrain bread, rice or pasta
- some dairy or dairy alternatives
- some beans or pulses, fish, eggs, or meat as a source of protein
- low levels of saturated fat, salt and sugar
You may also be given advice about dietary changes that can specifically help with kidney disease, such as limiting the amount of potassium or phosphate in your diet.
Manage alcohol intake
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to rise to unhealthy levels.
Sticking to the recommended alcohol limit is the best way to reduce your risk:
- men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week
14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
Find out more about alcohol units.
Regular exercise should help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing kidney disease.
At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week is recommended, as well as strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
Find out more about health and fitness.
Be careful with painkillers
If you need to take painkillers, make sure you follow the instructions that come with the medicine.
For more information on symptoms, causes and treatment please see the CKD Leaflet