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Experts suspect there are about a million people with moderate to severe kidney disease who are unaware that they have the condition. A quick simple test is available from your doctor.
Kidney disease usually has no symptoms until it's at a serious stage. "You can have quite serious kidney disease and feel absolutely fine," says Timothy Statham, chief executive of the National Kidney Federation (NKF). "You often don't know you have kidney damage until your kidneys have deteriorated to working at just 15% of their normal function."
Although early kidney disease displays no symptoms, it's easy for doctors to detect it. A routine blood test and urine test (to check for protein in the urine) can check whether your kidneys are working properly.
If you are at risk of kidney disease , your doctor should discuss with you how often you should be tested. If you have kidney disease, it's better to identify it when the disease is still at an early stage.
This is important because:
The chances of developing kidney disease increase as you get older. You're also more likely to develop kidney disease if you're male and if you're black or south Asian.
Read more about testing for kidney disease if you're black or south Asian.
Visit your doctor for a kidney test if you have:
It's also important to see your doctor for a kidney test if you already have symptoms of kidney disease. These include:
Read more about what's involved in having a test for kidney disease .
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.