Risk of Kidney Disease

In honor of Health Literacy Awareness Month, we're bringing you the information you need to make informed decisions about your day to day health management. Part of health literacy is knowing your risk factors and how to decrease them. What's a risk factor? A condition, situation or behavior that makes it more likely that you will develop certain chronic diseases.

Kidney Disease- what's that? Chronic Kidney is a progressive condition where eventually, the kidneys fail. So what does that mean? Kidneys failing? Your kidneys filter toxins from your blood and most importantly allows you to rid your body of waste. If your kidneys are failing, this means you become sick because your body has waste products moving through the blood. People who have the most severe stage of kidney disease- End Stage Kidney (Renal) Disease, require dialysis to survive. How common is Chronic Kidney Disease? Here are the sobering facts:

1. 1 in 3 Americans is currently at risk for developing kidney disease

2. 26 million American adults have kidney disease- and most don't know it!!

3. African-Americans are at 3.5 times higher risk, and Hispanic-Americans are at 1.5 times higher risk for developing kidney disease as White Americans.

So what about those risk factors? How can I determine how high my risk is?

Things We Can Change (Modifiable Factors)

-Smoking

-High blood pressure*

-Diabetes*

-Obesity

-Repeated kidney stones

-Heart disease

Things We Can't Change (Non-modifiable Factors)

-Family history of kidney disease*

-Race/ethnicity

-Age over 60*

*MAJOR factor

So what can I do? It is of great importance that your blood pressure and blood sugar are controlled. This is the BEST and most important way to lay the foundation for healthy kidneys. How is that done? Please see previous blog posts on blood sugar control and heart disease. When you see your doctor, ask how your kidneys are doing. Make small changes every day- like skipping that fast food meal, or choosing water instead of soda. It may not feel like you're doing much, but each time you make a better choice regarding your health, that adds up! Meal by meal, snack by snack, day by day.

Reference: National Kidney Foundation

#Kidney #riskfactors

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