Tomorrow, World Kidney Day, is a global effort to bring attention to a silent killer. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can cause kidneys to lose 90 percent of their function before a patient experiences any symptoms. Untreated CKD can cause kidney failure, which requires lifetime dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.
CKD damages the kidneys’ ability to keep you healthy. If it worsens, waste can build up in the blood stream and make you sick. Complications may include high blood pressure, anemia, weakened bones, nerve damage and nutrition problems. CKD also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Chronic kidney disease affects people of all ages and races. One in three American adults is at risk for it. Its leading causes are high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. If you have either of these issues or a family history of kidney disease, you are at high risk for CKD. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, being over 50, and African, Hispanic or Asian origin.
8 Ways to Reduce Your Risk
Even people at risk for CKD can lower their chances of developing it. Protect yourself with these tips:
- Keep fit and active
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Eat nutritious food and keep your weight at a healthy level
- Maintain enough fluid intake
- Do not smoke
- Do not regularly take over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) without consulting a doctor. Examples of NSAIDs are aspirin, naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
- Get checked if you have one or more of the high risk factors
- Family history of kidney disease
- If you are African, Hispanic or Asian origin
For specific kidney disease issues, consult a nephrologist.
Free Chronic Kidney Disease Screening
Though there are no signs or symptoms of early CKD, simple tests can detect it. A urine test checks for protein or a blood test measure the creatine levels to tell your physician how well your kidneys are working. Early detection and treatment can keep chronic kidney disease from progressing.
Tomorrow we will offer free World Kidney Day screenings, courtesy of the National Kidney Foundation of Greater New York. Find us in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Later this month, we are offering several free CKD workshops, too:
- March 17, 1 to 3 p.m. at Queens Public Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd., C Floor in Jamaica
- March 25, 11 a.m. to 12 noon and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Staten Island University Hospital’s Regina McGinn Center, 475 Seaview Avenue in Staten Island
- March 26, 2 to 4 p.m. at Seaside Library, 116-15 Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Rockaway Park
- March 26, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Arverne Library, 112 Beach 54th Street in Arverne