March Is National Kidney Month

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Kidney disease is known as a ‘silent disease’ because there are often no obvious symptoms during the early stages of it. Factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, being over 60 years old and heart disease.

It’s easy to test for kidney disease (and actually, it’s two tests), just ask your primary care physician. The first is a urine test to determine if any damage has been done to your kidneys, and the second is a blood test to evaluate how well your kidneys remove waste from your blood.

Kidney disease has five stages, as prescribed by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). The different stages require different treatment; if you’ve been diagnosed with kidney disease, you’ll be referred to a doctor who specializes in it, a nephrologist, and they will prescribe the appropriate treatment.

There’s no cure for kidney disease, it’s a chronic condition (which is why it’s also known as chronic kidney disease or CKD), but getting treatment is important because it might not only help relieve symptoms, but it also might help prevent the disease from getting significantly worse or at least slow the rate of progression down; the sooner you find out you have kidney disease, the better, because the later stages, four and five, usually mean a person has to start on dialysis or be considered for a kidney transplant. However, everyone’s body is different so consult your physician on what treatment is best for you. And, generally speaking, experts agree that a healthy lifestyle is key to helping address this ‘silent’ disease.  

This information is for educational purposes. Please consult your physician regarding any medical issues. The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is committed to bringing trusted and quality home health, private care and hospice to Indian River County patients. For more information about VNA services, call 772-494-6161 or visit www.vnatc.com.

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