Chronic Kidney Disease
What is Chronic Kidney Disease and Who Gets It?, continued
Taking Steps for Better Kidney Health
Kidney disease can be a silent illness, with few or no symptoms. Anyone who has diabetes or high blood pressure, or who has a family member with one of these conditions, should be tested regularly to ensure that their kidneys are working properly, as should anyone from the higher-risk groups listed above.
In addition, older people and those who are overweight should also make it a habit to have their urine tested on a regular basis to be certain that their kidneys are functioning in the normal range. Testing is the only way to determine your kidneys' health. If you do have chronic kidney disease, the sooner you can get tested and treated, the better your long-term health is likely to be.
If you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, you are not alone – more than 26 million adults in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease. However, 90 percent of them do not even realize they have it. What's more, another 20 million Americans are at risk for kidney disease but have no idea that their health is in jeopardy. If you believe that you may be at risk for kidney disease, see your health care practitioner without delay.
Treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease
If you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, early detection and proper treatment may delay or prevent kidney failure.
Getting the facts is the first step to becoming empowered in your care. Your health care provider can tell you about your disease. Often, renal dietitians can work with you change your diet to help maintain or improve kidney health. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, getting treated for those diseases can help slow additional damage to your kidneys.
If you're an end stage renal patient (someone who has lost significant kidney function), there are two treatments for your disease:
1.When your kidneys can no longer filter waste and excess fluid from your blood, and you become sick from the build-up, your health care provider may recommend that you have dialysis performed. Dialysis is a painless procedure that does some of the work of the kidneys by removing water and waste products from your blood. More than 350,000 Americans today are living productive lives with end stage renal disease thanks to dialysis.
2.The second treatment for end stage renal disease is a kidney transplant. This surgery removes the damaged kidney and replaces it with one that is able to function more effectively.
Talk to your doctor if you are at risk for kidney disease.
Reprinted with permission by DaVita Inc. Get your questions answered at YourKidneys.com
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Occasionally my mailbox or follow-the-link browsing will come up with something discussing whether (and if so, when) to ease the restrictions on treatment goals when the patient is elderly, arguing either to favor a higher quality of remaining life (lifestyle choices less limited by chronic illness) or to take into consideration geriatric cognitive decline (aka "senility") and simplify, as much as possible, the regimen. While the goal of medicine is, obviously, not to...