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Kidney Disease: Are You at Risk ?

by Michelle Evans

February 28, 2018

Do you know your risk for developing kidney disease? Kidney disease affects more than 30 million people or at least 15 of Americans in the united states. More than 47,000 people die each year from the disease. Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are damaged or are not able to filter blood in the same manner as a healthy kidney. This poor function causes excess fluid and waste from the blood to stay in our bodies, ultimately causing us to experience other medical conditions. Unfortunately, many Americans do not know they have kidney damage that may be contributing to kidney disease.

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Who is at Risk for Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease occurs more frequently in men than women and affects 18% of the African American population, but there are a few other factors that may elevate your risk for this developing kidney disease. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity all increase your risk of developing this condition. One in three adults with diabetes may develop chronic kidney disease at some point during the lifecycle of their health condition, and one in five adults with hypertension are at risk as well.

What are the Symptoms of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease may or may not trigger symptoms in some individuals. In fact, the early stages of kidney disease often do not have any noticeable symptoms. Thus, it frequently falls into the “silent disease” category. The only way to confirm whether or not you do have kidney disease is to get tested by your health care provider. They can order a set of blood tests and check your urine.

How Do I Prevent or Treat Kidney Disease?

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Kidney disease prevention may require you to make a few lifestyle changes. For those who have diabetes or high blood pressure, you may have to change the way you are eating and what it is you drink. You don’t have to figure out a proper diet alone. Seek the help of a dietician or nutritionist to help you create a meal plan that aligns with your efforts. You can anticipate that you might have to reduce your fluid intake, eat a low protein diet, decrease your salt intake and manage your overall caloric intake.

The key is to get control of your blood pressure and blood sugar levels to prevent further damage.

For those who develop kidney disease, lifestyle changes coupled with medication prescribed by your provider can assist in slowing or even preventing the progression of kidney disease.

Failure to seek treatment for kidney disease may increase your risk for heart disease or even a stroke. It can also worsen existing high blood pressure problems, cause anemia, or may contribute to shortness of breath or even swelling in the legs.