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Adults 60 and older urged to get yearly kidney disease screenings

August 7, 2013

Approximately 135.8 million Americans will develop kidney disease in their lifetime, which is nearly 60 percent of the population. Older adults are particularly at risk for the condition, and new recommendations from the National Kidney Disease Foundation suggest that adults 60 and older undergo a test for kidney disease once every year.

The new guidelines come after a study published in the American Journal of Kidney Disease revealed just how prevalent the condition is. Specifically, researchers found there is a greater risk of developing kidney disease than heart disease, late-stage cancer or diabetes. Experts say there's very little downside to an annual test, especially given it is cheap and easy to take. 

"Importantly, if caught early, the progression of kidney disease can be slowed with lifestyle changes and medications," said Dr. Beth Piraino, president of the National Kidney Foundation. "This underscores the importance of annual screenings, especially within the at-risk population, to potentially prevent kidney disease and ensure every patient with kidney disease receives optimal care."

There are a number of steps seniors can take to lower their risk of developing kidney disease, and many of them fall in line with healthy aging. According to WebMD, aside from getting tested regularly, the best way to prevent the condition is by managing health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes.