Talking to Your Doctor About Chronic Kidney Disease
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and experience with chronic kidney disease. By talking openly and regularly with your healthcare provider, you can take an active role in your care.
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
- Do I have any signs of chronic kidney disease?
- If so, how severe (what stage) is it?
- Do I have any signs of complications, such as high blood pressure or anemia?
- What caused my condition?
- What is the chance I will develop chronic kidney disease?
- Should I be screened for chronic kidney disease?
- Should my family members be screened?
- How can I decrease the risk that I’ll develop chronic kidney disease?
- What treatments are available to me?
What medications are available to me?
- What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
- Will these medications interact with the medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
What is my long-term outlook for:
- Daily living activities?
- Physical activity and exercise?
- How will this affect my family?
- Should I follow a special diet?
- Are there any dietary changes I should make? Where do I start?
Should I begin an exercise program?
- What kind of exercise is best?
- How often should I exercise?
- How do I get started exercising?
- Should I stop drinking alcohol?
- How can I get help to quit smoking?
- Can you recommend some support groups for myself and my family?
- How will I know that my treatment has been effective?
- What is my expected prognosis?
- How often will I need check-ups?
Are you at increased risk for chronic kidney disease? National Kidney Foundation website. Available at:
. Published 2010. Accessed October 16, 2012.
Chronic kidney disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated October 12, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012.
Chronic kidney disease. FamilyDoctor.org website. Available at:
. Updated November 2010. Accessed October 17, 2012.
Kidney disease basics. National Kidney Disease Education Program website. Available at:
. March 1, 2012. Accessed October 17, 2012.
Last reviewed October 2012 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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