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Your kidneys play a major role in your overall health. They filter and remove waste product, toxins and excess fluids. It’s important that your kidneys function properly to avoid damage to your heart, and even your bones.

But for about 10 percent of U.S. adults, our kidneys don’t perform optimally. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) affects about 20 million adults and the scary part is most of them don’t know it.

That’s because there are no signs or symptoms in the early stages.

“With CKD, you want to think risk factors and not symptoms,” says Dr. Abdo Asmar, a nephrologist at UCF Health and associate professor at the UCF College of Medicine. “The key is to catch it early to prevent additional health problems.”

The risk factors for CKD include:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Diabetes
  3. Heart disease
  4. High cholesterol
  5. Family history of CKD
  6. Age 50 or older

High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes for CKD. Regular testing is your best chance at catching and treating CKD early. Talk to your doctor about getting tested if you have any of the risk factors above. Without treatment, your kidneys may stop working, which would mean a life of dialysis or a kidney transplant.

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