Did you know approximately 30 million American adults have kidney disease, but most don’t even know it? Kidney disease, known as the “silent epidemic”, because if often shows no signs until it is more advanced.
March 1st marked the beginning of National Kidney Month, a time to raise awareness about your kidney health and generate support for those affected by kidney stones, kidney infections and kidney disease.
National Kidney Month is also a time when the Urology Care Foundation, the nation’s leading nonprofit urological health foundation, encourages the public to make direct, positive and healthy changes in their lives to keep their kidneys healthy and happy.
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs that are about the size of a small fist and sit on each side of the spine, above the waist. Their primary job is to clean the blood and produce urine to rid the body of waste. They also help make red blood cells, maintain a balance of salt and other nutrients in your body, keep your bones healthy and help control your blood pressure.
Your kidneys can become damaged with little to no warning. High blood pressure and diabetes are two leading causes of kidney disease. Other risk factors include heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol and a family history. Older adults, Hispanics, African-Americans and American Indians are at a higher risk for developing kidney disease.
“Most people don’t realize how important the kidneys are to our well-being, which is why it’s important to look after them,” said Richard A. Memo, MD chair of the Urology Care Foundation. “If you are at risk for kidney disease, talk to your doctor about having your kidney function checked as this disease is one that can be prevented or slowed down if caught early.”
A few simple ways to keep the kidney happy and healthy:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Not smoking
- Eating a healthy diet
- Keeping your weight in check
- Staying fit and active
- Monitoring and keeping regular control of your blood pressure and sugar levels
Common kidney-related health issues
Kidney Stones: One in 10 Americans will develop a kidney stone at some point in their lifetime and are the reason for more than 1 million emergency department visits per year. In fact, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Matt Mitrione was pulled from a highly anticipated fight last month due to kidney stones, which he needed surgically removed. Other famous names associated with kidney stones include Billy Joel, Tim Burton, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Joel, Roger Moore, William Shatner and Gene Simmons.
Kidney Infections: Approximately 200,000 kidney infections are diagnosed each year and are often due to a specific type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that begins in the urethra or bladder and travels to the kidneys. Symptoms may include fever, frequent urination and pain in the back, side or groin, and they are often treated with antibiotics.
In observance of National Kidney Month, the Urology Care Foundation encourages you to learn your risk factor for kidney disease and other kidney-related conditions.
For more information or to download free patient education materials visit: www.UrologyHealth.org.
About the Urology Care Foundation
The Urology Care Foundation is the world’s leading nonprofit urological health foundation. They partner with physicians, researchers, healthcare professionals, patients, caregivers, families and the public to support and improve the prevention, detection and treatment of urological diseases through research and education. To learn more about the Urology Care Foundation and its programs visit: www.UrologyHealth.org.
SOURCE Urology Care Foundation