National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin urges: get checked out for kidney disease

National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin urges: get checked out for kidney disease

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BROOKFIELD, Wisc.—More than 20 million Americans have chronic kidney disease, and another 20 million more are at risk, according to the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin. Most are not even aware of this potential health threat. During March, National Kidney Month, the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin (NKFW) urges all Americans, especially those at risk, to get tested for kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease usually causes no symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage, but simple tests can be done to detect kidney disease early, says Marilyn Neuens, RN, CNN, director of Professional & Community Partnerships with the NKFW. If caught early enough, chronic kidney disease can be treated to prolong or even prevent associated complicating factors, such as cardiovascular disease, Neuens concluded.

According to Neuens, it’s important that people visit their doctor or a clinic to find out if they could be at increased risk for chronic kidney disease. Anyone can get chronic kidney disease, but some people arc more likely than others to develop it. People in high-risk groups include:

l Diabetics or those with a family history of diabetes

l People with high blood pressure or with a family history of hypertension

l People with a family history of chronic kidney disease

l African-Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.

The National Kidney Foundation recommends three simple tests for anyone who is at increased risk: measurement of blood pressure, urinalysis to check for protein and a blood test to test for the level of serum creatinine (a waste build-up that indicates that the kidneys are not doing their job of filtering the blood well enough). Most physicians will refer patients who test positive for chronic kidney disease to a kidney specialist (Nephrologist) to develop a treatment plan and lifestyle adjustments.

For patients at increased risk for chronic kidney disease, but whose test results turn out normal, their doctors will want to re-check them at least once a year. They should also advise their patients how to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease, by making lifestyle changes such as increased exercise and diet adjustments.

Information: Call the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin at 1-800-543-6393. The NKFW is a major voluntary health organization seeking to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.

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