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Diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy (Photo credit: Boonyarit Cheunsuchon)

This would have to be my month. Yes, mine. Mine and every other kidney transplant recipient’s month out there. Or anyone with kidney disease, for that matter. March is National Kidney Month, according to The National Kidney Foundation, based here in the United States.

I realize there is a lot in life to do, and clicking on links may be just one more thing you might not have time for, so I will sum it up for you in a small excerpt I’ve taken from the site:

Kidneys filter 200 liters of blood a day, help regulate blood pressure and direct red blood cell production. But they are also prone to disease; 1 in 3 Americans is at risk for kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease. There are more than 26 million Americans who already have kidney disease, and most don’t know it because there are often no symptoms until the disease has progressed.

Just to be safe, perhaps you want to find a free screening in your area to ensure you don’t have kidney disease. I had no idea that kidneys are necessary to live. Who thinks about such things? Sure, everyone knows you need a heart. But at 17, when I found out that my kidneys had failed – and that I would have been dead within the week – it blew my mind.

Don’t wait. Symptoms do show up, it’s true. But it is difficult to diagnose. I am a prime example. My problems were congenital. But it took a full 17 years and my parents insisting on extensive lab work in the end to actually diagnose it. And even then the initial diagnosis was incorrect. Please contact the NKF and get your free screening if you think you might be at risk.

In the meantime, take care of your kidneys! They take care of you. Drink lots of water – it helps them work better. These are amazing organs. Be glad if you have 2. Be just as glad if you have 1. All you need is one! My dad gave me his 20 years ago and he is still in good health.