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By Susan Varbedian Lucken, R.N., B.S.N.
March is National Kidney month according to Healthline. 30 million people or 15% of U.S. adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease according to the CDC. 48% of those with severely reduced kidney function but not on dialysis are unaware of having chronic kidney disease. Most ( 96% ) people with kidney damage or mildly reduced kidney function are not aware of having chronic kidney disease. Kidney disease can affect your body’s ability to clean your blood, filter extra water out of your blood and help control your blood pressure.
You are born with 2 kidneys located on either side of your spine just above your waist. When your kidneys become damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in your body. That can cause swelling of your ankles, vomiting, weakness, poor sleep and shortness of breath. Without treatment, the damage can get worse, and your kidneys may eventually stop working. This is very serious and can be life-threatening.
This is what healthy kidneys do
If your kidneys suddenly stop working, doctors call this acute kidney injury or acute renal failure. The main causes are:
Chronic kidney disease
When your kidneys don’t work well for months to years, doctors call it chronic kidney disease. Even though you may not have symptoms in the early stages, that’s when it’s simpler to treat.
Diabetes ( type 1 and 2 ) and high blood pressure are the most common culprits.
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease include:
Risk factors for chronic kidney disease
Treatment for End-Stage kidney disease
Unlike many diseases, kidney disease often has no symptoms until it’s very advanced. That’s why it’s important for people to not only become aware of their risk, but also learn about the steps they can take to keep their kidneys healthier longer. Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of kidney disease. If you have a medical condition that increases your risk of kidney disease, your doctor will want to monitor your blood pressure and kidney function with urine and blood tests.
Sources: www.mayoclinic.org, www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease, www.webmd.com