Healthy Kidneys for Kids

Kidney Disease Prevention

The kidneys play an essential role in removing toxins and excess water from your blood. They control your blood pressure, help to make red blood cells and keep your bones healthy.

Kidney disease affects millions of people around the world, including many children. Some children are born with kidney disease, while others acquire the disorder later in life. Early chronic kidney disease has no signs or symptoms, but there are certain risk factors that parents should be aware of, including:

  • Premature or low-birth weight babies often have underdeveloped kidneys, which puts them at greater risk for disease.
  • Family history matters. Your child is five to nine times more likely to have kidney disease if their sibling or parent has it.
  • More than one urinary tract infection can be a sign of kidney disease.
  • A known kidney abnormality (such as having a single kidney or a malformed kidney) can increase risk.
  • Babies who were born with a significant heart defect are at an increased risk.

If you suspect that your child might have kidney disease, Advanced Urology ( offer a comprehensive service with information on treatments and screenings.

Healthy Habits

While kidney disease not always preventable, early detection and a healthy habits, can help ensure optimal kidney health. This includes:

  • Regular pediatric check-ups. Early discovery of conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and abnormalities in the urine can identified during a routine physical.
  • Manage obesity and keep fit. Maintaining healthy levels of activity and healthy dietary habits in childhood is important for the kidneys, and virtually every organ in the body
  • Check food labels for phosphate. Hidden food preservatives, called phosphate, may injure the kidneys and the heart. Phosphate is found in foods like deli meats, cola, yogurt, prepared frozen foods and soups. Learn to read food labels, and eat fresh foods when possible to reduce the intake of phosphate.
  • Review your child’s medication. Medications that can hurt the kidneys (even common medicines like non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs) should be chosen and used carefully. Always ask your doctor when using medications to make sure they are safe.

Regardless of the underlying kidney problem, rest assured that Lurie Children’s Division of Kidney Diseases has an experienced team available to walk your family through the options that are best for your child’s situation. Our multi-disciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers and other support staff will help you navigate the challenges of chronic kidney disease to help your child lead the healthiest life possible.

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