Do you know there are many people in kidney failure right now and don’t know it? If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or have a family history of kidney disease you should have your blood and urine tested ASAP! I know what some of you are thinking, “I don’t have those health problems. I exercise and watch my diet so I’m healthy. WRONG. Here is a perfect example of what our nephrologists experience in the emergency rooms.
“Doctor, I’m exhausted and have no energy. My appetite isn’t what it used to be, I have trouble sleeping, and I’m urinating more often during the night.” After running a series of blood tests the doctors realize they have a tough job ahead of them….they take a deep breath before pulling back the curtain and break the news that they’re indeed in kidney failure. This is why early detection is the key to good health. Although there is no cure for kidney disease, it can be slowed down substantially. Please note there are several symptoms for kidney failure; only a few were mentioned above. Allow me to explain what your kidneys do and how important they are. Your kidneys not only clean the toxins in your blood, but their primary function is to remove fluid and waste. They keep your body chemicals in balance, helps control blood pressure, helps to make red blood cells, and produces vitamin D which maintains the health of your bones. That said, you see why good eating habits are so important. Stay away from fad diets and greasy foods, and monitor your sugar intake. Without kidney function you will not be able to survive without a form of dialysis.
Lets talk about nephrons. Blood flows into the kidney and is cleaned by a million tiny filters called nephrons. Over time, these nephrons stop working. Our age is one factor which is normal but we can’t control that. Lack of exercise is another. Without a sufficient amount of oxygen brought to them daily they will become weak and stop working.
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. When left untreated (or by not taking your high blood pressure medication as prescribed) it damages the kidneys ability to function. Diabetes is also a major cause of kidney disease, and approximately 25-40% of kidney disease patients have diabetes.
Kidney disease is often called the silent killer because you don’t know you have it till it’s too late. Some people don’t have symptoms till they actually need a form of dialysis. You don’t have to have high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney disease to end up in kidney failure.
So lets recap what we’ve learned. What can I do to take good care of my kidneys and my health?
1. Yearly blood tests and urinalysis. Always request a copy from your doctor.
2. Stay away from fad diets and greasy/fried foods
3. Take all medication as prescribed by your physician even if you feel fine. If certain medications make you feel sick, talk to your doctor about alternatives, don’t just stop taking them. You could even use a prescription drug coupon to acquire less common drugs.
4. Exercise with your doctors approval. Even walking makes your heart pump a little faster which brings more oxygen to the kidneys and nephrons.
5. Follow any special diet instructions by your physician.
Our mission in nephrology is to slow down the rate of damage to your kidneys and to prolong or avoid dialysis. Stay in touch with your doctor and work together to protect your kidneys. There are thousands of people with kidney disease who take care of themselves and live happy, active lives. They feel well and you can too.
Dr. Mary Ann Lim and Dr. Abid Bashir are board certified in Nephrology and Internal Medicine and currently sees patients in Loganville, Monroe, Winder and Athens. If you’d like a consultation in any of our offices please call 706-227-4075.
We are building a brand new beautiful location in Loganville, Highway 81 South. Our Grand Opening is this Spring!
Do you know you can choose a dialysis/hemodialysis facility without having to change your doctor? If Loganville Dialysis is closer to your home or work give us a call and we can handle your transfer while you keep the same doctor.
Remember, early detection is the key to good health.