Los Angeles Times

Why Latinx People Are at Greater Risk for Kidney Disease and Failure


In the United States, 37 million adults have kidney disease, but 90 percent of these people don’t even know it.

In the early stages of kidney disease, most people don’t have symptoms. Therefore, everyone needs to know about this silent killer, but even more so if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney disease.

What to do?

If you have any of these risk factors, you’ll need to talk to your doctor about getting two simple tests.

First, you’ll need a urine test that checks for albumin; a type of protein in your urine. Having albumin in your urine may mean your kidneys and blood vessels are damaged. This can be an early sign of kidney disease. Next, you’ll need a blood test to estimate GFR, which stands for glomerular fıltration rate. Your GFR number tells you how well your kidneys are working — think of GFR as a percentage of kidney function, with 60 or more as normal.

In addition to these tests, Latinx people should get annual tests for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. You need to know your health status regarding these diseases.

The best way to avoid kidney disease is to live a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy diet, get physical activity, lose weight if needed, avoid smoking, and limit alcohol intake. A healthy lifestyle will help you avoid kidney disease, or at least slow or stop the disease from getting worse.

Knowing you’re at risk is the fırst step toward living a healthier lifestyle, so take a simple, one-minute quiz available in English and Spanish at MinuteForY­ourKidneys.org.

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