“Please don’t fail us because we do NOT want to fail you! Help us, Protect us.”
Your kidneys are two precious, bean-shaped, solid organs located in the abdomen. They filter our blood to remove toxins, balance acid and salts, maintain our blood pressure to ensure safe levels, maintain fluid balance in our bodies to prevent swelling, and allow us to breathe freely by ensuring excess fluid does not accumulate in our lungs or other inconvenient places! Still the kidneys do even more including create active vitamin D and precious erythropoietin that instructs our bone marrow to produce red blood cells!
Kidneys are indispensable! If they fail you will die unless you have a procedure called dialysis that is done to clean your blood OR you will need a kidney transplant (a new kidney from a living or a dead donor).
Dialysis may be done in two ways:
- Via the blood: A procedure that is usually done three times weekly (most commonly) by accessing the blood via a shunt in the arm or a catheter and sending this blood through a machine that cleans it and returns the blood to your body (this is done in a dialysis unit or for specially selected patients it may be done at home.
- Via the abdomen: A daily process done by placing fluid in the abdomen via a catheter (called a peritoneal dialysis catheter). The lining of the abdomen called the peritoneum cleans/filters the blood. The fluid is then removed from the abdomen. This process is done manually throughout the day or by a machine called a cycler at night.
Good news: Kidney Disease can be prevented in some cases. It can also be slowed.
There are ways to help prevent kidney disease and if kidney disease is already present, its progression or rate of worsening can be slowed. Knowledge helps. See the posters below that give helpful tips. More than 37 million adults in the US suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD): only about 10% know. Learn how to protect your kidneys.