April is Kidney Awareness Month

April has come and gone; however, kidney disease is a very real issue for millions of people daily including people that I know and love. Here are few statistics about kidney disease from the Centers for Disease Control:

“The overall prevalence of CKD (chronic kidney disease) in the general population is approximately 14 percent. High blood pressure and diabetes are the main causes of CKD. Almost half of individuals with CKD also have diabetes and/or self-reported cardiovascular disease (CVD). More than 661,000 Americans have kidney failure.”

Fast Facts

  • The overall prevalence of CKD in the general population is approximately 14 percent.
  • High blood pressure and diabetes are the main causes of CKD. Almost half of individuals with CKD also have diabetes and/or self-reported cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • More than 661,000 Americans have kidney failure. Of these, 468,000 individuals are on dialysis, and roughly 193,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.
  • Kidney disease often has no symptoms in its early stages and can go undetected until it is very advanced. (For this reason, kidney disease is often referred to as a “silent disease.”)
  • The adjusted incidence rate of ESRD in the United States rose sharply in the 1980s and 1990s, leveled off in the early 2000s, and has declined slightly since its peak in 2006.
  • Compared to Caucasians, ESRD prevalence is about 3.7 times greater in African Americans, 1.4 times greater in Native Americans, and 1.5 times greater in Asian Americans.
  • Each year, kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer. In 2013, more than 47,000 Americans died from kidney disease.1

These statistics are staggering and more relevant to me more now that ever. In my blog this month, I am getting personal. The effects of CKD have impacted my life in a very profound way. When my father was diagnosed with CKD back in 2013, I admit I was shocked and devastated, but suppressed those emotions. I knew enough medicine to be able to comprehend what was happening, but had a difficult time making the connection between what I was told about his illness and the way that he physically looked. He seemed “fine.” I mean, he is my dad, my hero and I am the youngest–the “baby girl.”

Shortly after we were told about his diagnosis, he started peritoneal dialysis at home daily. It changed his life and all those that love him. He was surely less fatigued than most people who have to do hemodialysis but still caused a huge change in his schedule as he has to be at home a certain time daily to start his “cycle.” He is doing very well and continues to desire and work toward obtaining a kidney transplant.

I write this to remind everyone reading this that while the etiology of kidney disease can vary, the affects on a family is the same. It can cause fear, shock, uncertainty and concern. I leaned on my faith in God to battle the emotional affects of my father’s condition and any fear that tried to grip me. Be sure to do research by asking your friends and family about their medical history and also speak to your primary care physician concerning your risk factors.

Source for statistics:
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/kidney-disease