Unlocking the Power of Kidneys: Marching Toward Awareness During American Kidney Month

March is National Kidney Month! Did you know that 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease – and 37 million actually have it? Alarmingly, most of those 37 million American adults don’t know it.

Our kidneys are powerhouses for our body. They regulate fluid levels, activate Vitamin D, filter out waste, direct the production of red blood cells, regulate blood pressure, and keep minerals and pH in balance.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, use of tobacco products, family history, and age over 60. Social and economic factors can contribute to poor health, including kidney disease, due to such factors as uncertain access to nutritious food, unreliable transportation or housing, and lack of educational opportunities.

Early Chronic Kidney Disease typically causes no symptoms. As Chronic Kidney Disease advances, it can cause a buildup of waste and fluid and lead to a number of symptoms, including a bad taste in the mouth and poor appetite; water retention that leads to swollen ankles, feet, or hands; shortness of breath; difficulty sleeping; itchy skin; and muscle cramps. Treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease typically includes medications, diet, and follow-up by the doctor and/or kidney specialist called a Nephrologist. Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease may require a kidney transplant or one of the various forms of dialysis.

To keep your kidneys healthy, follow your doctor’s healthy lifestyle advice. Eat a nutritious diet, be physically active, stay hydrated with water, work on moderating your weight, and avoid tobacco. Share information about all your medications and supplements with your primary care doctor, since some of these can affect the health of your kidneys.

Talk with your doctor about your risks and discuss any social or economic factors that prevent you from living a healthy life. If you have risk factors, discuss testing for kidney disease, which will include blood and urine tests. If your tests show kidney disease of any stage, follow the treatment plan your doctor or Nephrologist designs for you.

Love your kidneys during National Kidney Month – and every month of the year – to keep them working for you. Go to https://www.kidney.org/keephealthy to learn more about kidney health.

Sourced By: Healthwise
Reviewed By: Capital Health Plan Physicians Group
Posted: March 1, 2024

2024-03-01 16:30:00