Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

George Lopez stands in front of a step and repeat in a black suit

Actor and comedian George Lopez almost didn’t make it. Since his childhood, Lopez’s kidneys never worked correctly and it was inevitable that he would have to undergo surgery. Lopez’s kidneys had been poisoned over the years from a congenital abnormality that caused a narrowing of his ureters, the tubes through which urine travels from each kidney to the bladder.

As a young man, Lopez suffered from hypertension and fatigue, neither of which alarmed him. Thanks to his wife Ann, who gave Lopez one of her own kidneys, as soon as 10 days after the surgery in 2005 he felt better than he had in his life.

The kidneys play a vital role in every day life. The kidneys sift through approximately 200 quarts of blood to remove about two quarts of waste and extra water on a daily basis, resulting in urine which is stored in the bladder until urination. If the kidneys are damaged or are unable to perform their cleansing duties, usually at or below 25 percent of function, kidney dialysis and possibly even kidney replacement surgery is necessary to sustain life.

Those with diabetes and high blood pressure need to be cautious and take care of their kidneys, although kidney disease can be caused by other disorders, like Lopez’s case. Among other ethnic groups, Latinos are at a high risk of kidney disease because of high rates of diabetes and hypertension.