As CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana, I am urging Louisianans to take a moment to pay attention to their kidneys during National Kidney Month this March. In Louisiana, kidney disease is a healthcare epidemic. There are over 460,000 citizens in our state that suffer from chronic kidney disease. Over 10,000 of these citizens are on life-sustaining dialysis and nearly 1,800 are awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant. It is critical that attention be brought to this often overlooked, but increasing common disease whose major risk factors are: diabetes, One test is a blood pressure measurement to check for high blood pressure. Another test is a urine test called “ACR” (albumin to creatinine) ratio which checks for protein in the urine – a sign of kidney disease. Lastly, your doctor can perform a blood test for creatinine which is used to estimate your GFR (glomerular filtration rate) to let your doctor know how well your kidneys are filtering your blood.
Kidney disease is often called the “silent killer” because it has no early recognizable symptoms. Some warning signs of kidney disease include high blood pressure, excessive fatigue, swelling of hands and feet, nausea or vomiting, decreased appetite, itchy skin, and sleeping troubles. These signs are many times symptoms of other problems which makes it difficult to determine that it is your kidneys causing you to feel the way you do.
Urge anyone with diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of kidney disease to speak with their doctor this month, or anytime, and ask about getting tested for kidney disease. The National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana offers free screenings throughout the state during the year. To learn more about kidney disease and to find a screening near you, visit www.kidneyla.org.
Chief Executive Officer
National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana