March is National Kidney Month. During this month, Donor Alliance aims to spread awareness about kidney health and disease around the country, as well as to our local Colorado and Wyoming residents.
In Colorado and Wyoming, there are nearly 1,400 people on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant. More than 80% of people on the waitlist are waiting for a kidney. Kidneys are the most transplanted organ and the average time a patient spends on the waiting list is 3 to 5 years.
1 IN 3 ADULTS ARE AT RISK OF KIDNEY DISEASE
Sadly, the reality is that 33% of adults around the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease. In short, 1 in 3 adults in the United States! In this quiz, you can take a minute to see if you are part of that 33%.
According to statistics provided by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), kidney disease affects an estimated 37 million people in the U.S. Approximately 90% of people with kidney disease do not know they have it. Unfortunately, this contributes to the fact that kidney disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
Know Your Risk Factors
There are multiple risk factors to consider that may attribute to someone getting kidney disease:
– Having Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes can damage the small vessels of the kidney, affecting its ability to filter toxins. This is why it is very important to get frequent check-ups with your doctor.
– High blood pressure: Always have an annual wellness exam and follow your doctor’s recommendations if you have high blood pressure.
– Family history of kidney disease: If you have a family history of kidney disease, you should monitor your kidney function.
– Older age: As we age, our bodies naturally lose kidney function. Annual kidney function tests are a good way to monitor kidney function.
– Overweight: Being overweight puts people at risk for many conditions, including kidney disease. However, changing diet and lifestyle habits can help.
Prevention is always vital to preventing any disease and staying away from needing a life-saving transplant.
Exercise can help prevent disease, disability, injury and premature death. Having the time and willingness to engage in physical activity, whether aerobic or muscle activity, can sometimes be a challenge, but the benefits are enormous. The good news is that you don’t need to be a fitness freak or a marathon winner to do it.
A nice simple walk, renovating your garden, enjoying Family Hikes in one of the beautiful parks we have in Colorado and Wyoming, or just dancing to your favorite music in your living room will keep your heart beating and increase a state of happiness that will undoubtedly make you a healthier person!
Some studies suggest that people with kidney disease who follow a plant-based diet have lower mortality rates. Nutrition is an important factor in keeping us healthy! Without protein, our bodies would not be able to build muscle, repair tissue and fight infection, but too much can be harmful if the kidneys cannot filter it out. Increasing your vegetable intake will bring immediate benefits. There are also thousands of veggie burger options made from legumes that are very low in fat and you can get creative in the kitchen! If you are going to make changes in your diet, you should always check with your family doctor first to define the right diet for you.
Read Nutrition Labels
Many processed foods are full of chemicals or high levels of sodium and phosphorus that can be harmful to your kidneys, so be aware and read the label! If the amount of sodium is high, try not to consume it.
Always talk to your medical team before changing your diet, as you may need special considerations.
Finally, let’s not forget about those who suffer from this disease and struggle day-to-day to keep going. Think about the 85% on the national transplant waiting list who are waiting for a life-saving kidney today. We can give hope to those waiting by registering as organ and tissue donors at DonateLifeColorado.org or DonateLifeWyoming.org.