A Silent Killer: Kidney Disease
March 18, 2021
March is National Kidney Month. Our kidneys play a vital role in our well-being. They help to filter our blood and balance water, salt and mineral levels in the blood. They also produce hormones to regulate blood pressure and blood supply.
Chronic kidney disease is a progressive disorder that occurs when a person’s kidneys no longer filter blood in the way they should resulting in a build-up of waste. When waste builds up due to kidney disease, it poisons the body. This can lead to symptoms such as swelling (edema), an abnormal build-up of fluid in the body, in the legs and other areas of the body. When this occurs for many years, you can experience kidney failure.
According to the National Kidney Foundation:
- In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease – and about 90 percent don’t know they have it.
- 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for chronic kidney disease.
- People of African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk of developing kidney disease.
- Blacks or African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure.
- Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.
Two of the most common conditions leading to chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. High blood sugar from diabetes and high blood pressure can destroy the kidney’s ability to filter out poisons and recycle back important and essential substances. Both diabetes and high blood pressure can be managed with medication along with diet and lifestyle changes. Reducing your level of stress can also help in managing high blood pressure and diabetes to reduce your risk of developing kidney disease.
Steps for managing chronic kidney disease include:
- Following a healthy diet, recommended by your physician, that is easy on the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts and low in salt and sodium, added sugars and sweets, fat and red meats.
- Avoiding smoking
- Talking with your physician about any medications you are taking, including vitamins and herbs
- Going to dialysis appointments, if they are part of your prescribed treatment
Wayne Health kidney specialists (nephrologists) are experts who provide full-spectrum care for the treatment of many kidney disorders, including diabetic and hypertensive kidney disease, lupus nephritis, polycystic kidney disease, glomerular disease and kidney stones. To set up an appointment with a Wayne Health nephrologist, visit our appointment page or call 877-929-6342.