Yesterday in church I was educated not only spiritually but also naturally. One of my church members gave her testimony about suffering with kidney disease and her three times weekly dialysis treatment. She went on to challenge all of us to learn about our kidney's and kidney disease as March is Kidney Awareness Month. Now y'all know that whenever I learn something I have to share it with you! So here we go.
What do kidneys do? (Source: WebMD)
- The kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. Each kidney is about 4 or 5 inches long -- about the size of a fist.
- The kidneys' function are to filter the blood. All the blood in our bodies passes through the kidneys several times a day. The kidneys remove wastes, control the body's fluid balance, and regulate the balance of electrolytes. As the kidneys filter blood, they create urine, which collects in the kidneys' pelvis -- funnel-shaped structures that drain down tubes called ureters to the bladder.
- Each kidney contains around a million units called nephrons, each of which is a microscopic filter for blood. It's possible to lose as much as 90% of kidney function without experiencing any symptoms or problems.
- There are many illnesses associated with the kidneys; kidney stones, urinary tract infections, kidney cancer and chronic kidney disease just to name a few. Today I am specifically sharing information on chronic kidney disease which would lead to dialysis and the need for a kidney transplant.
If you have any of these risk factors, get tested for kidney disease. Early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms.
Kidney disease can affect people of all ages and races. African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians tend to have a greater risk for kidney failure. This is mostly due to higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure in these communities. There may be other reasons, too.
What is dialysis? (Source: National Kidney Foundation)
- Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things done by healthy kidneys. It is needed when your own kidneys can no longer take care of your body's needs. Like healthy kidneys, dialysis keeps your body in balance. It removes waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body. It keeps a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate and it helps to control blood pressure. Learn more about dialysis here
The steps you take to keep your kidneys healthy help the rest of your body too. Talk to your health care provider to find out the steps that are right for you.
Until next time...