What Is Kidney Disease?

The 411 on Kidney Disease

Your kidneys — two bean-shaped organs located in your lower back — play a more important role in your overall health than you may realize. The kidneys are your body’s filtering and cleaning system removing wastes and extra fluids from your body. It also balances chemicals and hormones that are necessary for your body to function. Understanding one’s kidneys is the first step in taking control of your heath. Controlling your diabetes, hypertension, and other health conditions can help your kidneys work effectively and longer. Not smoking and drinking is a plus. The more one knows about how the kidneys work and chronic kidney disease (CKD), the less they’ll need to ask, “what is kidney disease?” As a great nurse once said “knowing is half the battle”.

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5 Stages of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease comes in five stages. It is important to know what stage you are on to select your treatment options. Stage 1 are kidneys functioning at a normal rate. Stage 2, 3 and 4 are stages where the kidneys decline in functions. Stage 5 is considered kidney failure (CKD) which requires dialysis or kidney transplant. Understanding your stage can help you learn how to take control and slow the progression of your condition.

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Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

Diabetes and high blood pressure work together hand in hand to cause damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys. About 25% of people with Type 1 diabetes and 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure. Having diabetes raises your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and other health problems. Having high blood pressure also raises this risk. Keeping blood sugar levels within normal range, exercising, eating healthy eating, and educating yourself can keep these two health conditions under control.

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