Silent Killer: Your Kidneys
It's often called the 'Silent Killer' because there are no early recognizable symptoms. You're not going to get a lump or a rash that won't go away, you're not going to have a mysterious pain that might ultimately drive you to your doctor's office.
Silence, nothing, no warning.
Which is why early detection of kidney disease is key. So if there are no warning signs what do you do to prevent or avoid it?
March 8th is World Kidney Day and March is National Kidney Month. Experts say that anyone with these major risk factors, talk to their doctor about being tested for kidney disease.
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney failure or if you're over age 60 you should inquire about being tested for kidney issues.
In Louisiana alone over 460,000 citizens are sufferers, over 10,000 are on dialysis to sustain their lives and 1,800 are awaiting kidney transplants.
If you do have these other conditions described above, it's imperative you be tested as soon as you can, as you'll receive no other warning from your kidneys.
What Your Kidneys Do
Healthy people are born with two, well kidney-shaped organs below the rib cage and real close to the spine. Each one is about the size of your own fist.
The kidney is a big filter for your blood - screening out wastes and extra fluid. The kidneys can also call up to the heart for more or less blood pressure as necessary to function. Good kidneys help maintain BP.
By producing a hormone called erythropoietin, which instructs the bone marrow in making red blood cells, the kidneys thus produce red blood cells that carry oxygen from your lungs to power your body's daily needs. And your kidneys control your pH levels and make a form of vitamin D for strong bones.
Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy
Keep fit, what else? What does your doctor tell you when you see him? Monitor your BP, maintain a healthy fluid intake, drink water. Don't smoke or take OTC pills on a regular basis and hope for the best.
And most importantly let March's National Kidney Month be a figurative string tied around your finger to ask your doctor to be tested for kidney disease.