Give Back to Charity this March for National Kidney Month

World Kidney Day Join awareness and charity efforts to stop kidney disease on this World Kidney Day, March 12

March is National Kidney Month, including World Kidney Day on March 12. Since chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is usually caused by an offshoot of two other health issues—diabetes and high blood pressure— it is important to know your overall health and monitor any changes in your body. Some diseases are considered “silent” because they don’t cause symptoms until it is too late, and CKD is one of those.

Certain populations have more risk for CKD statistically, including senior citizens, those with a family history of the disease, and those that have a history of prolonged use of NSAIDS (pain relievers such as ibuprofen). People with kidney stones, a low birth weight, and people with chronic kidney infections are also at an increased risk. Populations such as African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans face greater risk of CKD than Caucasians.

Chronic kidney disease affects a whopping 26 million Americans. If it progresses past a manageable point, then kidney dialysis or a transplant may be necessary. The continued treatment costs, inconvenience to a normal life, and life-threatening surgery can be traumatic to go through. Prevention of CKD is a much better option. Organizations such as the American Kidney Fund and National Kidney Foundation seek to prevent CKD.

Symptoms of kidney disease include: dry, itchy skin; poor appetite; difficulty sleeping; increased thirst; difficulty urinating; puffiness around the eyes that is more common in the mornings; swollen feet or ankles; foamy urine; tiredness; a need to urinate more often than normal; and muscle cramps, especially at night.

Two tests are available to measure your risk of chronic kidney disease, including a normal blood pressure reading and a urine test (sometimes blood tests are used too). Health care practitioners can see if there is an increased level of waste products in the urine (or blood), or an increase of a certain protein. If so, your kidneys may be under-functioning.

If the simple tests mentioned above implicate issues with the kidneys, then more tests can be done to locate the problem. Such tests include a kidney biopsy, a CT scan, or an ultrasound. Doctors will also determine a filtration rate (GFR), which shows how well the kidneys are functioning by measuring the stage of chronic kidney disease.

Some of the things you can do to prevent CKD and other kidney problems are to drink plenty of water daily, avoid cola drinks, and avoid tobacco. It is also helpful to maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and follow other recommendations for general good health. You can also monitor changes in your body for symptoms of kidney disease.

The American Kidney Fund and the National Kidney Foundation are two of the top organizations working to fund research, find a cure, and educate the public about chronic kidney disease. These foundations provide a wealth of information and resources, including the latest advice, links to other relevant sources, and even quizzes to assess your own personal risk for CKD. There are multiple ways to support these organizations, including donating, volunteering, becoming an organ donor, or becoming a corporate sponsor.

Your kidneys filter up to 150 quarts of blood per day and are precious to a normal life. For National Kidney Month and beyond, be informed, support organizations such as the American Kidney Fund and National Kidney Foundation, and please join Everlasting Footprint in supporting this very important cause. Don’t let chronic kidney disease happen to the ones you love.

About Cindy Readnower

Cindy Readnower, MBA, specializes in sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship. An award-winning certified Life Coach, business consultant, and publisher at Skinny Leopard Media, she helps writers produce and promote their books. She is a newspaper columnist, author of "Inherited Secrets," and a blogger.

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