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Published on March 20, 2015

Focus on the Kidneys During National Kidney Month in March

The National Kidney Foundation, Dialysis Clinic Inc. and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System are teaming up to give you the unfiltered truth on kidneys and to promote kidney health for National Kidney Month, observed in March.

One in three American adults are at risk for kidney disease. The risk is heightened with the diagnosis of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease.

What do my kidneys do?

The kidneys are two fist-sized organs in your lower back and maintain overall health by:

  • Filtering waste from 200 liters of blood each day.
  • Regulating the body's salt, potassium and acid content.
  • Removing drugs from the body.
  • Balancing the body's fluids.
  • Releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure.
  • Controlling the production of red blood cells.

However, kidneys are prone to disease. More than 26 million Americans have undiagnosed kidney disease because there are often no symptoms until the disease has progressed. Kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States, killing more people than breast or prostate cancer.

What symptoms do I look for?

Because kidney disease often has no symptoms, it can go undetected until it is very advanced.

In its advanced stages, some signs of kidney disease include:

  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Difficult, painful urination
  • Foamy urine
  • Pink, dark urine or blood in urine
  • Increased need to urinate, especially at night
  • Puffy eyes
  • Swollen face, hands, abdomen, ankles, feet
  • Increased thirst

When kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required. Approximately 450,000 Americans are on dialysis, and more than 185,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant. While more than 95,000 people are waiting on a kidney transplant each year, fewer than 17,000 people receive a kidney each year.

During National Kidney Month in March, the National Kidney Foundation encourages you to talk to your primary care physician and be screened for potential kidney disease.

Information from the National Kidney Foundation.

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