Kidney disease doesn’t have to be deadly

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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World Kidney Day is March 8 And National Kidney Month is March These are significant dates as they bring awareness to a potentially deadly disease. Twenty-six million Americans are estimated to have chronic kidney disease and most don’t know it, according to National Kidney Foundation PR manager Sean Roach. And 91,000 Americans are waiting to receive a kidney transplant, Roach said. Millions more are at risk, according to the foundation’s website ( news/wkd/protectand preventonwkd.cfm). “Risk factors are if you have hypertension, you’re diabetic, if you have a family history of kidney disease,” Roach said. “Other factors are obesity and poor quality of life. Those factors can be countered “by staying healthy and getting plenty of exercise,” according to Roach. If caught early, chronic kidney disease can often be managed and damage can be slowed or stopped, according to the foundation’s website. That’s why early testing is important. For more information, contact the National Kidney Foundation at (800) 622-9010 or or your doctor. ~ Carol Feineman What healthy kidneys do: • Regulate the body’s fluid levels • Filter wastes and toxins from the blood • Release a hormone that regulates blood pressure • Activate Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones • Release the hormone that directs production of red blood cells • Keep blood minerals in balance (sodium, phosphorus, potassium) 8 problems chronic kidney disease can cause: • Cardiovascular disease • Heart attack and stroke • High blood pressure • Death • Weak bones • Nerve damage (neuropathy) • Kidney failure (end-stage renal disease, or ESRD) • Anemia or low red blood cell count from the National Kidney Association