GOOD MORNING DELMARVA - Kidney disease kills more people each year than breast and prostate cancer combined. But while the majority of Americans can recite the common tests for breast and prostate cancer, not many know the risk factors and tests that could keep them off of dialysis and the transplant list.
March is National Kidney Month, March 13 is World Kidney Day and the National Kidney Foundation is urging Americans to learn the key risk factors for kidney disease. The major risk factors include:
- Diabetes -- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the United States.
- High Blood Pressure -- High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney disease.
- Family History of Kidney Failure -- If your family has a history of kidney failure, you are at increased risk for kidney disease and kidney failure yourself.
- Age Over 60 -- Being over the age of 60 is one of the main risk factors for developing kidney disease and kidney failure.
- Kidney Stones - Studies have shown that a history of kidney stones is associated with the development of kidney disease.
Steps to Take for Those at Risk
Anyone with the above risk factors should be tested to check kidney function, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Simple steps such as controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, keeping weight down, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and avoiding excessive use of pain medicine, can help reduce risk.
"If you have any of the risk factors for kidney disease, you should urge your doctor to test for kidney disease with a simple blood test and a urine test every year," said Dr. Bernard Jaar, chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland.
- Because kidney disease often has no symptoms, it can go undetected until it is very advanced. A simple urine test can identify whether you have the early signs of kidney disease.
- Untreated, kidney disease can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- There are 120,000 Americans currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Of those more than 96,000 need a kidney, yet fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year. On average 13 people die every day waiting for a kidney.
- Kidney disease kills more people each year than breast and prostate cancer combined.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and tens of millions of Americans at risk. For more information, visit www.kidney.org.
Now celebrating its 50th year as an affiliate, the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland, serving central and western Maryland, the Delmarva Peninsula and portions of West Virginia, is the area's only voluntary health agency dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of kidney and urinary tract diseases. For more information, visit www.kidneymd.org.