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National Kidney Month: Do you know how your kidneys are?

The National Kidney Foundation asks us to observe March as National Kidney Month and March 8th as National Kidney Day. At least twenty cities in the US are offering free screening to detect your risk for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Take this time to get close to your genetic family and find out if anyone has high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease. If the answer is yes, then you could be at risk and should get some simple blood tests done. People of certain ethnicities ( Blacks, Latinos, Asians or Pacific Islanders) remain at high risk for CKD. Montgomery, Alabama is one of these cities, and Alabama Governor Robert Riley has expressed concerns that his state is facing a kidney disease epidemic. Black people are 4 times more likely to have kidney failure than whites, and diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure in this population group.

Chronic kidney disease is a serious condition associated with premature death, poor quality of life, and increased health-care costs. requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation. The human body is a truly amazing organism, and each body system is dependent on the others to function well. If the brain and heart aren't working right, the kidneys won't either. As the kidneys shut down, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. Cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are all significant risk factors for kidney disease.

Kidneys are the filters of our body, removing wastes and excess water. They help balance the chemicals in our blood like sodium and potassium. Kidneys can start failing before you have any symptoms; like high blood pressure, it is a silent health problem. You may develop complications slowly over a long period of time, and may not realize you are sick, or why you always feel tired. Untreated, CKD may eventually lead to kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Ways to prevent kidney disease are to keep your blood pressure and diabetes, if you have these diseases, well controlled. If you or your loved ones have any risk factors for kidney disease, make a date to get the following blood tests and assess your risk with your health provider:

These are simple blood tests. Get close to your loved ones - get tested in March for kidney disease!

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