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There are a number of risk factors for kidney disease, some that you can control such as smoking, and others that you cannot. People with diabetes, high blood pressure or who have a family history of kidney disease are at increased risk, as well as children born with kidneys that did not develop properly. 
 
People of Aboriginal, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Island, African/Caribbean and Hispanic descent are also at higher risk, but you may develop kidney disease even if you do not fall into one of these groups.
 
Be very careful about taking non-prescription medications, particularly painkillers. It is wise to discuss all over-the-counter medications with a doctor or pharmacist before they are taken. Certain other medications, toxins, pesticides and illegal drugs (such as heroin and cocaine) can also cause kidney damage.
 
Recent estimates suggest that as many as two million Canadians have chronic kidney disease or are at risk — most are unaware of it.  If you are over the age of 50 or fall into any of the aforementioned risk categories ask your doctor for a blood test to know your kidney function level.