Join EF in Remembering the Faces of Kidney Disease
March is National Kidney Month. We want to share some important facts to help raise awareness about kidney disease and its symptoms, to promote early detection. Connect with our Faces of Kidney Disease Group Footprint and share your stories to help others learn from your experiences with kidney disease, renal failure, dialysis, or transplant. The EF Faces of Kidney Disease Footprint is where you can come together to help others and remember the people who have impacted your life.
Facts about chronic kidney disease
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) affects 26 million people in the United States, and not all those affected know it, according to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). One in three Americans is at risk for chronic kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure is next in line. Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidney gradually loses its ability to function. The word “renal” refers to the kidney, so kidney disease is also known as “chronic renal disease” or “chronic renal failure.”
Kidneys are important because they filter the body’s blood and remove waste and excess water. They also stabilize levels of electrolytes and create hormones that help regulate blood pressure, strengthen bones, and create red blood cells. When they don’t function properly, the entire body suffers. If kidney disease progresses, people can pass away from kidney failure.
Who is at risk for kidney disease?
Population groups with high rates of diabetes or high blood pressure, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians, are at an increased risk for chronic renal failure. Having diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or a family history of kidney diseases increases a person’s risk.
Symptoms and detection of kidney disease
Symptoms of kidney disease include tiredness, difficulty concentrating, poor appetite, trouble sleeping, muscle cramping at night, swollen feet and ankles, puffiness around eyes, dry and itchy skin, and an increased need to use the bathroom.
Early detection of chronic kidney disease can keep it from progressing to kidney failure, but severe symptoms may not appear until the disease is advanced. If kidney failure occurs, then dialysis, or even a kidney transplant, is needed.
As of September of 2014, the NKF reports that of the 123,175 people waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the United States, 101,170 with chronic renal failure awaited kidney transplants. On average, every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list, and 3,000 new patients are added to the waiting list each month. Twelve people die each day while waiting for a kidney transplant.
Everlasting Footprint invites you to remember, celebrate, and honor people who have been affected by kidney disease, have lost their lives to it, or are facing it today. On our Faces of Kidney Disease group Footprint, we want to hear your stories about CKD. Join us, tell your stories, donate to kidney disease research, increase kidney disease awareness, and share knowledge that can change lives.