COLUMBIA — The National Kidney Foundation extends its sympathies to the family of Natalie Cole, who recently passed away due in part to complications with kidney disease.
The passing of Ms. Cole, and reports of her ongoing health issues including a kidney transplant in 2009, have raised questions from many across the United States who wonder if they are at risk of kidney disease, and if they too can donate a kidney to someone in need.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) serving North and South Carolina is available to answer any questions about kidney disease and transplantation. Please feel free to contact NKF at 803-799-3870 or via email at Stephani.firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have on kidney disease, kidney health, and organ donation.
More than 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD), and millions more are at risk of developing CKD. In fact, 90% of those with CKD are unaware that their kidneys are failing.
The National Kidney Foundation defines CKD as “a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time.” CKD damages kidneys and decreases the kidney’s ability to function normally. As kidney disease worsens, it can cause complications such as high blood pressure, anemia, brittle bones, nausea, loss of appetite, and nerve damage. It can also increase your risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease.
As many as two-thirds of CKD cases are caused by diabetes and hypertension, which means African-Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and those over age 60 are at increased risk of developing CKD.
Other conditions that can affect the kidneys include glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, malformations, obstructions, autoimmune disease and repeated urinary tract infections.
Symptoms of CKD usually begin to occur when kidney function is diminished to 50 percent. These can include fatigue, trouble concentrating, poor appetite, trouble sleeping, muscle cramping at night, swollen feet and ankles, dry/itchy skin, more/less urination, high blood pressure, frothy urine and weight gain.
As kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires a transplant or some type of renal replacement therapy, also called dialysis, to maintain life.
The good news is early detection and treatment can often keep prevent kidney disease from progressing to kidney failure. Therefore, it is important to maintain normal blood pressure and weight, avoid tobacco use and always follow your health provider’s treatment plan to maintain your health. You can learn more about how to keep your kidneys healthy at www.kidney.org.
• 1 in 3 American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today.
• High blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure and being over 60 are major risk factors for developing kidney disease.
• 1 in 9 American adults has kidney disease — and most don’t know it.
• Early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.
• Kidney disease risk can be reduced by controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, quitting smoking, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive use of pain medications.
The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information, visit www.kidney.org.