James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.
And you should be happy if your kidneys are functioning well. You can’t live without at least one, you know. Well, you can with treatment, but it’s such a pain.
Ask the approximately 150,000 Americans who have had to have a transplant, or the roughly 350,000 on dialysis.
And then there are the costs in dollars for treatment of end-stage renal disease (renal failure), over $32 billion per year, with Medicare fronting about $20 billion of that (6.7 percent of its overall expenditures). The latest estimates are for a 60-percent increase by 2020. Some of that is those with the disease will be living longer, but here is the take home message:
Over 50 percent of new cases are the result of the damage caused by diabetes or hypertension, two treatable, and often preventable, diseases. If there ever were a case for prevention costing less than treatment ….
• You have diabetes
• You have high blood pressure or heart disease
• You have a family history of chronic kidney disease
• You are 60 years of age or older
• Your ethnic background is African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander
And, finally, the NKF offers 10 reasons to love your kidneys on World Kidney Day. They:
1. Filter 200 liters of blood a day, removing two liters of toxins, wastes and water.
2. Regulate the body’s water balance.
3. Regulate blood pressure by controlling fluid levels and making the hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict.
4. Support healthy bones and tissues by producing the active form of vitamin D.
5. Produce the hormone that stimulates bone marrow to manufacture red blood cells.
6. Keep blood minerals in balance.
7. Keep electrolytes in balance.
8. Regulate blood acid levels.
9. Remove drugs from the blood.
10. Retrieve essential nutrients so that the body can reabsorb them.
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