Talking to Your Doctor About Chronic Kidney Disease
Diane W. Shannon, MD, MPH
Your health history is different than everyone else’s. It’s important to take time to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. They will guide you based on your risk factors and history with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Having regular talks with your doctor will help you take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
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 someone else hear what’s said and to ask questions.
- 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 an explanation if you need to.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
- Do I have any signs of CKD?
- If so, how severe and what stage is it?
- Do I have any signs of other health problems such as high blood pressure or anemia?
- What caused my condition?
About Your Risk of Developing CKD
- What is the chance I will develop CKD?
- Should I be screened for CKD?
- Should people in my family be screened?
- How can I decrease the risk that I’ll develop CKD?
About Treatment Options
- What treatments are available to me?
What medicines are available to me?
- What are the benefits or side effects of these medicines?
- Will these medicines interact with the medicines, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
About Lifestyle Changes
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 start 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 advise me about support groups for me and for my family?
- How will I know that my treatment has been effective?
- What is my expected prognosis?
- How often will I need check-ups?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD). Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:
https://familydoctor.org/condition/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd. Updated August 9, 2017. Accessed June 19, 2018.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
. Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed June 19, 2018.
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 6/19/2018