Many people know that kidneys function to ‘clean your blood’ but your kidneys also provide several other critical functions to keep your body healthy.
Healthy kidneys provide the following functions:
- Maintain your body's balance of water and concentration of minerals;
- Remove waste by-products and toxins from the blood;
- Help regulate blood pressure;
- Stimulate production of red blood cells
- Produce an active form of vitamin D, needed for healthy bones.
Your overall kidney function can be measured by a simple procedure testing your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR).
If your kidneys become damaged, dangerous levels of fluid and waste can quickly accumulate in your body. If left untreated, diseased kidneys may stop functioning completely. Loss of kidney function is a serious – potentially fatal – condition.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a long term and ongoing condition of decreased kidney function. CKD is a silent disease and particularly dangerous because symptoms may not be noticeable until significant and irreparable damage has been done. More than 26 million American adults have Chronic Kidney Disease. That’s one in nine!
Kidney failure is the final stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Over 100,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure annually in the United States. Treatment for kidney failure is dialysis, an artificial blood-cleaning process, or transplantation to receive a healthy kidney from a donor.
For those at any stage of kidney disease, knowledge is power. Knowing the symptoms of kidney disease can help you get the treatment you need to feel your best. If you or someone you know are worried about kidney problems, see your doctor. Early detection is the key to slowing the progression of kidney disease.