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Education, Screening Critical to Early Detection – and Possible Prevention – of Kidney Disease

How much thought have you given your kidneys lately?

Your kidneys clean your blood by removing waste, maintain the balance of salt and minerals in your blood, and help regulate blood pressure. When the kidneys become damaged, waste can build up in the body. If left untreated, diseased kidneys may eventually stop functioning completely.

Chances are that unless you are afflicted with kidney disease or know someone who is, you've never thought about your kidneys. But it's important that you start thinking about them because chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing in this country.

The chance of an American adult being diagnosed with CKD is nearly 12 times higher than an American woman's risk of getting breast cancer. In fact, the number of adults in the United States living with CKD is almost three times the number of those with cancer. According to experts, one in 10 Americans – more than 31 million adults – have CKD and 90 percent don't know they are affected.

How can that be?
The fact is that there are usually few or no symptoms in the early stages of CKD. Unfortunately, for this reason it is called the "silent killer." It is typically not until the late stages of CKD that noticeable changes occur in the body. Some of these symptoms may include high blood pressure; bloody, foamy or dark-colored urine; or a change in how often – more or less – you go to the bathroom.

Leading causes of CKD are diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and a family history of CKD. It is important to talk with your family and physician to understand your personal risk factors.

What can you do?
Early detection through screening can help slow down or even stop the progression of CKD into chronic kidney failure. Kidney failure, known as end stage renal disease, means a person must either get a kidney transplant or go on dialysis to live.

We strongly encourage everyone to get tested for CKD or, if you have been diagnosed with CKD, to tell a friend or loved one about your personal experience.


For more information visit www.davita.com

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