Dialysis Technician Recognition Week (Oct. 10-15)- This week is a time to honor hemodialysis technicians who commit their lives to the field of Nephrology.
Nephrology is a specialty field of medicine concerned with diseases of the kidney. The most common form of treatment for kidney disease and failure is dialysis; a blood cleaning procedure that helps remove waste and buildup in the body.
End stage renal disease (ESRD) is a chronic disease characterized by the kidneys’ inability to function at full capacity. Every year, more than 650,000 patients are affected by ESRD in the United States. Unfortunately, these numbers are rising, as we are seeing a 5% increase each year in the U.S.
Kidney transplantation is considered the best form of treatment for ESRD patients, however a shortage of donor kidneys and an exceptionally long wait list makes it difficult for patients to receive a transplant in time. As a result, most patients resort to dialysis.
There are 2 types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis is far more common, accounting for 90% of all dialysis patients. While the treatment can help to increase the life expectancy of its patients, only 35% of hemodialysis patients are alive after five years of treatment.
Since there are no symptoms associated with ESRD, it can be difficult to detect kidney disease. However, there are some ways you can prevent and slow the progression of kidney failure. Here are three ways to prevent and manage kidney disease:
Dialysis Technician Recognition Week- Kidney Disease Prevention/Management Tip #1: GET TESTED
Since there are usually no symptoms to indicate there is anything wrong with kidney function, it is suggested that patients regularly get tested. A simple urine test can measure levels of protein and glucose to determine if your kidneys are functioning properly. A blood test can also help to measure the amount of waste and water buildup in your body.
Dialysis Technician Recognition Week- Kidney Disease Prevention/Management Tip #2: KNOW YOUR RISK
Diabetes and high blood pressure are responsible for two thirds of all patients suffering from chronic kidney disease. Talk to your doctor to learn your risk of developing these diseases. If you are already suffering from diabetes and/or high blood pressure, learn what you can do to manage these diseases. A healthy balance of medication, diet, and exercise is a good start to preventing the progression of chronic kidney disease.
Dialysis Technician Recognition Week- Kidney Disease Prevention/Management Tip #3: SEE A SPECIALIST
If you have a family history of chronic kidney disease, it is probably best to visit a nephrologist. These doctors are educated in the field of kidney diagnosis and treatment and can help you decide how you may slow down the progress of kidney disease. Additionally, nephrologists can provide specialized testing to give you an idea of how well your kidneys are functioning.