New Orleans, LA – Kidney disease kills more people each year than breast and prostate cancer combined. In addition, there are more than 8,700 patients on dialysis and over 460,000 people living with chronic kidney disease in Louisiana. But while the majority 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 of Louisiana is urging everyone to learn the key risk factors for kidney disease. The major risk factors include: diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of kidney failure, individuals over 60, and those who have or have had kidney stones.
Steps to Take for Those at Risk
“Anyone with the above risk factors should be tested to check kidney function,” according to Shawn Donelon, MD, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Kidney of Louisiana.
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. If left untreated, kidney disease can lead to kidney failure, dialysis, and a transplant. Currently there are more than 96,000 Americans in need of a kidney transplant. Yet fewer than 17,000 receive one each year; causing 13 people to die each day waiting for a kidney.
The National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana (NKFL) is the major statewide voluntary non-profit health organization dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well being of individuals affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplant. For more information, visit www.kidneyla.org.