Ten Surprising Facts Everyone Should Know About Kidney Disease
Mass. – March 6, 2014 – More than 26 million
Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD), but many don’t realize it because
people often do not have symptoms early in the disease. This March, during
National Kidney Month, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the
nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, is urging Americans to learn
more about CKD. Those who are at risk should get screened regularly, since
early intervention may slow the progression of the disease.
Kidneys are remarkable organs that keep the
body healthy in many ways, including cleaning waste products from the blood and
releasing important hormones into the blood. Healthy kidneys filter about 200
liters of blood a day, as well as help regulate blood pressure and direct the
production of red blood cells. But they can be damaged by diabetes,
uncontrolled high blood pressure and even the use of some over-the-counter
medications and supplements.
CKD – a loss of kidney function that can
take place over a period of months or years – often goes undiagnosed in its
early stages when it may still be treated by medication, exercise and diet
changes. Once the disease progresses to kidney failure, the only options for
survival are dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.
“It’s important to find out early if you
have CKD, because there are often interventions that may slow its progression,”
says Dr. Dugan W. Maddux, vice president of Kidney Disease Initiatives at
FMCNA. “Especially if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you need to
understand your risks and get regular screenings.”
The Top 10 List: What You Need to Know About Kidney Disease
- About 13 percent of U.S. adults have CKD.
- The leading causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure, which cause an estimated 44 percent and 28 percent, respectively, of new U.S. kidney failure cases. Diabetes rates are rising in large part due to increasing obesity rates.
- Most people are born with two kidneys, but you only need one functioning kidney to live a full, healthy life.
- CKD progresses in stages and, if untreated, can lead to complete loss of kidney function. At CKD stage five, when both kidneys fail completely, the only options for survival are dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- The progression of CKD can often be slowed, but many people do not have symptoms early in the disease. Symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, diminished appetite and weight loss occur late in the course of CKD.
- CKD affects people of all ages. However, those 60 and over are the most likely to develop CKD.
- Certain ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, are more likely than Caucasians to develop CKD.
- About 430,000 Americans with kidney failure rely on regular blood-filtering dialysis treatments to survive.
- Although most patients receive dialysis treatments in a clinic three days a week, a growing number (nearly 40,000 U.S. patients in 2013) undergo dialysis in the comfort of their own homes.
- More than 90,000 U.S. patients are waiting for kidney transplants, but only about 18,000 of those will get a kidney transplant each year.
If you or a loved one are at risk for CKD,
please visit your physician and get screened.
Fresenius Medical Care North America
Through our leading network of more than
2,150 dialysis facilities in North America and our vascular access centers,
laboratory, pharmacy and affiliated hospitals and nephrology practices,
Fresenius Medical Care provides renal services to hundreds of thousands of
people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. We are also the
continent’s top producer of dialysis equipment, dialyzers and related
disposable products and a major supplier of renal pharmaceuticals.