Kidney Disease more Common among Americans
It came as surprise when a friend of ours was diagnosed with kidney disease and started dialysis. But it really should not have been a surprise because so many Americans have kidney disease or are likely to develop kidney disease in the future.
The National Kidney Foundation states that 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent have a higher risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop kidney failure.
Early detection and treatment is important. A simple urine test can detect kidney disease. When you visit your doctor, be sure to discuss risk factors such as a family history of kidney failure. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure or both, your risk is higher. Discuss all medications, even over-the-counter medications, with your doctor. Your kidneys normally filter the medications and prevent build-up.
Your healthcare providers may need to make changes to your medications to make sure they are safe for your kidneys and prevent further kidney damage. Discuss your diet, particularly the amount of salt and alcohol you consume. Whether you are at risk or not, you should stop smoking, because smoking makes any health condition worse.
When kidney disease progresses, it may lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis procedures have improved throughout the years, and continue to do so. Basically, there are two kinds of dialysis. In hemodialysis, blood is pumped out of your body to an artificial kidney machine, and returned to your body by tubes. In peritoneal dialysis, the inside lining of your stomach acts as a natural filter.
Peritoneal dialysis can be performed two ways. CAPD is “continuous,” machine-free and done while you go about your normal activities such as work or school. APD differs from CAPD in that a machine delivers and then drains the cleansing fluid for you, and this is usually done at night while you sleep.
Patients need good communication with their kidney care team to help them with their treatment options and to get information about their progress. Caregivers can help by learning about prevention or treatment options, and by coordinating care.
For more details on kidney disease and dialysis, read the Guide to Dialysis and Kidney Disease at the website of the National Council for Aging Care.
The National Kidney Foundation offers patients and caregivers information on insurance, prescription assistance, financial resources and many other topics related to kidney disease. Call the Foundation’s patient information help line, NKF Cares, toll free at 1.855.NKF.CARES (1.855.653.2273) or email [email protected]
Stay safe and healthy at home!