10 Surprising Facts Everyone Should Know About Kidney Disease

FMS_CKD-Infographic_Final_2.27More than 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD), but many don’t realize it because people often do not have symptoms early in the disease. This March, during National Kidney Month, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, is urging Americans to learn more about CKD. Those who are at risk should get screened regularly, since early intervention may slow the progression of the disease.

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Kidneys are remarkable organs that keep the body healthy in many ways, including cleaning waste products from the blood and releasing important hormones into the blood. Healthy kidneys filter about 200 liters of blood a day, as well as help regulate blood pressure and direct the production of red blood cells. But they can be damaged by diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure and even the use of some over-the-counter medications and supplements.

CKD – a loss of kidney function that can take place over a period of months or years – often goes undiagnosed in its early stages when it may still be treated by medication, exercise and diet changes. Once the disease progresses to kidney failure, the only options for survival are dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.

“It’s important to find out early if you have CKD, because there are often interventions that may slow its progression,” says Dr. Dugan W. Maddux, vice president of Kidney Disease Initiatives at FMCNA. “Especially if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you need to understand your risks and get regular screenings.”