Preventing Kidney Failure through Management of Chronic Conditions

Dr. Hanny Sawaf

A leading expert from the Cleveland Clinic emphasizes the importance of managing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity to prevent chronic kidney disease (CKD).

This warning comes in light of data indicating that around one in ten people globally suffer from some form of CKD, a condition often silently progressing until it reaches an advanced stage.

Dr. Hanny Sawaf, a nephrologist at the Cleveland Clinic, stresses the critical role of regular screenings for early detection.

“With CKD, a person often doesn’t experience symptoms until they have advanced disease, so screening tests are vital for early detection of disease or assurance that the kidneys are functioning normally,” he explains.

This approach is particularly crucial for those with a family history of kidney disease or chronic health conditions.

High blood pressure and diabetes stand out as the most common culprits leading to kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.

With the prevalence of these conditions, along with obesity, on the rise globally, Dr. Sawaf highlights the silver lining: the development of new and highly effective therapies. Recent clinical trials, including the FLOW trial studying the effects of semaglutide on renal function, have shown promising results for kidney health beyond their primary indications.

Dr. Sawaf advises that taking care of one’s kidneys goes hand in hand with general heart health guidelines, which can also positively impact diabetes, obesity, and hypertension management. He advocates for a heart-healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, sufficient sleep, smoking cessation, limited alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Moreover, Dr. Sawaf recommends adhering to a heart-healthy eating plan, like the Mediterranean diet—rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats, and olive oil—or the low-sodium DASH diet.

“Restricting sodium is important, especially for those with high blood pressure or those who have kidney disease, and we recommend consuming a maximum of 2g of sodium per day for these patients,” he notes.