Kidney health

Who is this for?

•    Have you been told by a doctor that your kidneys aren’t working as well as they should, or that your kidney function is ‘low’ or ‘borderline’?

•    Do you take tablets to control high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) or have diabetes and are having regular blood and urine tests?

•    Are you a General Medical Practitioner or Practice Nurse who cares for patients who have or are at risk of developing kidney problems?

If any of these apply, this website is for you.

We have produced this website as a resource for people who have early signs of possible kidney problems and for the health care professionals who provide care for them.

You may not be aware of having early signs of kidney problems because they don’t usually cause symptoms. They are therefore most likely to be discovered through routine tests. If this does happen to you, there is no need to be alarmed. Most people who develop early signs of kidney problems stay well and healthy. Very few (2 out of every 100) ever need treatment such as dialysis or kidney transplant [NICE 2014]. For the other 98 out of 100, early signs of kidney problems are best thought of as a risk factor for future heart or circulation (cardiovascular) problems, similar in some ways to having increased levels of cholesterol. However, there are things you can do to help look after your kidney health and to prevent or delay future health problems.

On this website you can learn about why kidney performance may begin to decline and who is at risk, how kidney performance is measured and why it is important to check it regularly. You can read about how people find out that they have early signs of kidney problems, their experiences of having regular check-ups, their information preferences, and the ways in which they try to look after their health.

For health professionals, this website provides an insight into the experiences of people who are being monitored for early signs of kidney problems – what information they have received, what they found helpful and unhelpful, their key questions and concerns, and their views on how monitoring could be made more meaningful to them.

The site is based on an in-depth interview study of 45 real people about their experiences of having their kidney function monitored for early signs of problems. You can watch, listen to and read excerpts from the interviews in video, audio and text-only format.

This site does not deal with specific underlying kidney conditions (such as polycystic kidney disease) or advanced kidney disease. However, a few of the people we spoke to had kidney problems that had recently progressed to a more serious stage, so they were able to reflect back with hindsight on their experiences of diagnosis and having check-ups at their GP surgery.  It is also worth noting that some of our participants had been unaware that they had mild kidney impairment until they were approached about taking part in this study.

We hope you find this site helpful.

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