Kidney Disease & COVID-19

Last updated: March 30

People with kidney disease and other chronic medical problems are more likely to have serious complications after contracting COVID-19 when compared to the general population. Your physician can review your medical record to give you a greater understanding of your personal risk.

Here are answers to some common questions related to kidney disease and COVID-19. Please note that these answers are subject to change as we receive more information about COVID-19. If you have additional questions not answered here, call your physician or the Northwestern Medicine COVID-19 hotline at 312.47.COVID (312.472.6843).

Frequently Asked Questions

People who have kidney disease do not appear to be more likely to contract COVID-19. However, they are more likely to have serious complications. Experts believe that the more underlying health conditions a person has, the higher their chance of having serious complications from COVID-19.

Do not stop your ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker. There is no evidence that taking these drugs increases your risk of contracting COVID-19 or of developing complications from the disease. If you have any questions about your medications, please contact your physician.

Immunosuppressive medication can make you more susceptible to infections, including COVID-19. However, those medications are being used to treat your underlying disease, and stopping them could worsen your kidney disease. If you have questions regarding your medications, please contact your physician.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, call your physician for guidance.

Keep at least a 2-week supply of your medications and contact your physician if you need refills. To refill your prescription, you can limit exposure to the virus by using a mail-order service or drive-thru pharmacy, or have a caregiver pick up your medication.

Physicians recommend that people with kidney disease adhere to the recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prioritizing extreme physical distancing and hand hygiene. You should also exercise, eat well, reduce stress and get plenty of sleep.

If you have been exposed to someone who received a COVID-19 diagnosis, you should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms of the virus. If you begin to experience symptoms, call your physician. If you receive kidney dialysis, you need to continue your dialysis treatments during isolation. Please refer to Kidney Dialysis and COVID-19 for more information.