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Prevention

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

If you have a long-term condition that could lead to CKD, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it's important this is managed carefully.

Follow the advice of your GP, take any medicine you're prescribed and keep all appointments relating to your condition.

Stop smoking

Smoking increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks or strokes, which is associated with a higher risk of CKD.

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.

Healthy diet

healhy, 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:

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:

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.

Exercise regularly

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

Kidney disease can be caused by taking too many non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, or taking them for longer than recommended.

If you need to take painkillers, make sure you follow the instructions that come with the medicine.

Kidney risk calculator

There is a calculator you can use to work out your risk of developing moderate to severe kidney disease over the next 5 years. You just need to answer some simple questions.

The calculator is only valid if you do not already have a diagnosis of CKD stage 3b or worse. Ask your doctor if you're unsure.

You may wish to use the tool during your next GP or practice nurse consultation.

Use the QKidney Web Calculator.