30 Million Americans Have Chronic Kidney Disease
In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of Americans with chronic kidney disease is higher than previously estimated.
Now, 1 in 7 American adults, or roughly 30 million people, are estimated to have CKD. This is roughly 15 percent of the adult population.
In Shelby County alone, there are nearly 1,400 kidney transplant patients and 3,300 patients already on dialysis. There also are about 82,000 people in Shelby County living with diabetes, a main precursor to kidney disease.
Astonishingly, 48 percent of those with severely reduced kidney function are not aware they have CKD and have yet to start dialysis treatment.
Finding out you have chronic kidney disease can be scary. It might feel overwhelming knowing you are losing your kidney function. Learning about CKD and treatment options help patients feel a little more in control of their lives.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that help keep the body chemistry in balance. When working normally, kidneys filter the blood and remove waste, toxins, excess salt and water, and make urine. Kidneys also control blood pressure, build red blood cells and balance minerals. A diagnosis of CKD means the kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should.
The progression of CKD is measured by blood and urine tests in five stages. In advanced stages, the patient can no longer survive without dialysis– a process that slowly removes wastes and extra fluid to help keep a person’s body chemistry balanced.
Symptoms of kidney failure include swelling of feet, ankles, legs, hands and face, being very tired and high blood pressure. As the disease gets worse, it can cause nausea and vomiting, trouble sleeping, itching and loss of appetite.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two major causes of kidney disease, with nearly three quarters of patients having these underlying conditions. Other causes include complications from other health issues, genetic conditions or injuries.
For those who know they will need dialysis, health education is the key to choosing the right care. More knowledge about dialysis allows patients to make informed decisions about how they want to live their lives with kidney disease.
Hemodialysis– removing, filtering and returning blood to the body– can be performed in a clinic where patients receive treatment three times a week for three to four hours. It can also be done at home.
There is another home therapy option called peritoneal dialysis, which uses the body’s natural membrane. A tube, placed in the patient’s belly, removes waste and extra fluid.
Choosing a type of dialysis depends on the patient’s medical needs and what kind of lifestyle the patient wants to lead. You and your doctor will need to work together to find a treatment right for you.
Kidney transplant surgery is usually an option for most people. But often there are no kidneys available immediately. Family members should know how they can be an organ donor.