(StatePoint) Kidney disease is on the rise, according to government statistics. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed, getting informed about it is important, as more than 26 million Americans likely have kidney disease and over 430,000 Americans are currently receiving dialysis treatment for kidney failure, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Kidney Disease Awareness and Education Week, recognized August 5 -10, is a great time to get the facts:
Ask Your Doctor
Those with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) don’t exhibit symptoms until the disease is advanced, according to the National Kidney Foundation. As a result, you could have the disease long before you’re aware. Left untreated, it can lead to other serious health complications.
While standard annual physicals don’t include tests that detect kidney disease, you can be proactive and ask your doctor to test you. Age, obesity, high blood pressure and ethnicity can all play a role in your risk of developing the disease. Talk to your physician about what diagnostics are right for you.
When CKD progresses to the point of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), dialysis therapy or a kidney transplant is necessary to sustain life. Whereas traditionally patients with ESRD visit a dialysis center three times a week for treatments lasting about four hours, a new movement to improve renal care is giving patients access to home hemodialysis.
Home hemodialysis is a different way of doing hemodialysis. When prescribed by their doctor, trained patients and their care partners are able to perform their dialysis treatments on their own schedule in their home or while traveling.
Additionally, home hemodialysis can be done more frequently, which is closer to how healthy kidneys work. Many patients report – and various studies have confirmed –that compared to three-times-weekly in-center hemodialysis, more frequent home hemodialysis may offer the following health and quality of life benefits: lower risk of death, better blood pressure control with fewer medications, less stress on the heart, quicker recover, more energy, and improved appetite.
Given the flexibility and health benefits of more frequent home hemodialysis, many patients are regaining their lifestyles.
“Home dialysis has restored my freedom to travel, visit friends and experience so many things I wasn’t able to do during my years of in-center dialysis,” says Henning Sondergaard, a NxStage System One user. After learning about home dialysis, Henning began using NxStage System One which is currently the only portable hemodialysis system cleared for home use by the US Food and Drug Administration.
More information about the benefits and risks associated with home hemodialysis can be found at www.nxstage.com.
While some risk factors are beyond one’s control, such as race, age and a family history of the disease, reducing your risk is possible.
Getting plenty of exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking are a few ways to promote healthy kidney function. Being informed is also important. Talk to your relatives to learn if kidney disease runs in your family.
Don’t let kidney disease go untreated. This Kidney Disease Awareness and Education Week, August 5-10, learn more about renal health.