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 dialysis and the transplant list.
March is National Kidney Month and March 13 is World Kidney Day. During this time, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) is urging Michigan residents to learn the key risk factors for kidney disease in order to prevent or delay its onset.
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 a risk factor 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 of Michigan.
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.
- 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.
During National Kidney Month in March, and in honor of World Kidney Day on March 13, the NKFM will offer the following health activities to promote awareness of kidney failure and kidney disease: kidney and health screenings, disease management workshops, health fairs and resources, community meetings and education opportunities, and more.
Help fight kidney disease in Michigan during National Kidney Month! For more information about preventing and controlling kidney disease, or details about local events and workshops during Kidney Month, call the NKFM at 800-482-1455.