Kidney Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

13. What questions should I ask my doctor to help me manage my kidney disease?

During your next health care visit, talk to your provider about your test results and how to manage your kidney disease. Below is a list of questions you may want to ask. Add any questions you think are missing, and mark those that are most important to you. Bring your list with you.

About your tests

  • Did you check my kidney health with blood and urine tests?
  • What was my GFR? What does that mean?
  • Has my GFR changed since last time?
  • What is my urine albumin level? What does that mean?
  • Has my urine albumin changed since the last time it was checked?
  • Is my kidney disease getting worse?
  • Is my blood pressure where it needs to be?
  • Will I need dialysis?
  • When should I talk to my family about dialysis or a kidney transplant?

(Watch the video to learn more about dialysis decisions. To enlarge the videos on this page, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner of the video screen. To reduce the videos, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)

About treatment and self-care

  • What can I do to keep my disease from getting worse?
  • Do any of my medicines or doses need to be changed?
  • Do I need to change what I eat? Am I eating the right amount of protein, salt (sodium), potassium, and phosphorus?
  • Will you refer me to a dietitian for diet counseling?
  • When will I need to see a nephrologist (kidney specialist)?
  • What do I need to do to protect my veins?

(Watch the video to learn more about lifestyle and diet changes to make with kidney disease.)

About complications

  • What other health problems may I face because of my kidney disease?
  • Should I be looking for any symptoms? If so, what are they?

If you're told that you need “renal replacement therapy” (dialysis or a transplant)

  • How do I decide which treatment is right for me?
  • How do I prepare for dialysis?
  • What is an AV fistula?
  • How soon do I begin preparing?
  • How can my family help me?