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National Kidney Month

March is National Kidney Month, a time when communities across the country raise awareness about kidney disease. There are several health conditions that can cause kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD (Chronic Kidney Diease), followed by high blood pressure. Together, these conditions account for 75% of CKD diagnoses.

What is CKD?

Chronic kidney disease (or CKD) is a condition in which your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter wastes from your blood as well as healthy kidneys can. Because of this, wastes from the blood remains in the body and may cause other health problems. People in the early stages of CKD may not feel sick or notice any symptoms. The only way to find out for sure whether you have CKD is through special blood and urine tests performed in your doctors office. Once detected, CKD can be treated with medicines and lifestyle changes. These treatments can slow the worsening of CKD and can help prevent additional health problems.

Who is at risk?

Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both have a higher risk of developing CKD than those without these conditions.

Other risk factors for CKD include:

  • heart disease

  • obesity

  • lupus

  • family history of CKD

  • kidney failure

  • age

Without treatment, damaged kidneys may stop working or work very poorly, a condition called kidney failure. Not all patients with CKD progress to kidney failure and, in some patients, CKD progresses to kidney failure even with proper treatment. People with kidney failure need either regular dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.

How to prevent CKD?

The best way to prevent or delay CKD is to prevent, treat, and manage its risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This includes

monitoring your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels to keep your kidneys healthy. Manage your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol by eating more fruits and vegetables, staying physically active, taking your medications as directed, and getting regular checkups.

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, it is important to talk to your doctor about CKD and get screened. The earlier CKD is detected, the sooner you can take the steps to slow its progression.

If you would like more information about kidney disease and how to prevent or manage kidney disease, view our free webinar on kidney health inside Umemba Health Academy here.