(PCM) National Kidney Month is a time to raise awareness of chronic kidney disease. According to the CDC, nearly 10% of adults in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease – that’s one in ten! What’s more, most people who have it don’t even know it. Could you be one of them?
Your kidneys are the filtration system of your body. Located just below your ribcage, these fist-sized organs clean waste from your blood. They also help regulate blood pressure, fluid levels, and chemical balances to keep you healthy. When they don’t do their job (because of trauma, illness or disease), toxins begin to build up in your body. You get sick. Eventually, very sick.
Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States – more people die from kidney disease than breast or prostate cancer.
Kidney disease can happen quickly, or slow and quiet, with little warning. Modern medicine can sometimes slow its progress, but once a person enters end stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure, dialysis and/or kidney transplant is the only treatment. This is why it’s important for everyone to understand the signs and risk factors for kidney disease.
Those most at risk for kidney disease include:
- people with diabetes
- people high blood pressure
- people with a family history of kidney failure
…But kidney disease can affect anyone.
Symptoms of kidney disease include:
- changing in urination (such as frequency or color)
- fatigue or weakness
- shortness of breath
- swelling in face, hands or feet
- dry or itchy skin
- increased thirst
- nausea or vomiting
- loss of appetite
- trouble concentrating
…Or other symptoms, or none at all. Many people have no idea they have kidney disease at all.
If you can catch kidney disease early, you could save yourself a lot of heartache. Or kidney ache, even. You might even save your life.
So at your next checkup, ask your doctor about simple blood and urine tests to check your kidney function.
OR, celebrate National Kidney Month with the National Kidney Foundation – visit their website to find out about free screenings on World Kidney Day and throughout the month of March!
Other websites of note:
Center for Disease Control (CDC supports and maintains the CKD Surveillance Project to document the burden of chronic kidney disease in the United States, and to track progress in achieving Healthy People 2020 objectives to prevent, detect, and manage chronic kidney disease.)
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK conducts, supports, and coordinates research on many of the most serious diseases affecting public health.)
American Kidney Fund (AKF is a non-profit that provides prevention and educational services and financial assistance to kidney patients in the U.S.)
Have a Heart – It’s National Organ Donor Day (Celebrating Organ donors and donor support organizations)