The NDE, or Near Death Experience, is a topic that popular media such as CNNhas broached as recently as this past April. The term is given credit for its existence to Raymond Moody, author of the 1975 book Life After Life.
Below you will read the autobiography of Michael Gaudet, who nearly died as a teenager. He kindly accepted my offer to contribute to my other blog, and I wanted to share it with my readers on this blog, as well. Some things are just meant to be shared.
While I have offered him authorship on this blog as well, perhaps he will take me up on it for other articles. We have yet to see!
Yes, even chronic kidney disease (CKD) can go into remission, or be reversed, according to some personal stories I have come across here and there, if caught early enough. Based on those stories (and I cannot back them up or verify them), I want to share something with you, my faithful readers.
According to the article below, you should get your kidney health checked every YEAR. And by ‘you’ I mean the average Joe, not people like me, with CKD, or chronic kidney disease.
Kidney disease creeps up on you like a spider quietly coming down its web from above. This disease is scarier, though, because it attacks from the inside where you can’t see it coming. So you must do your part to try to look for the tiny hints that might appear – if you are lucky enough to have any hints – and to do your part to try to stay healthy despite the environmental, biological, physical, psychological and emotional hazards we face daily.
Read on to discover what types of supplements can help, and if I remember correctly, what may hinder (keeping the article to refer back to for future reference!). I have some excerpts below, for you, but for detailed information, please take some time to peruse the entire article. It mentions CoQ10 and others you may have heard of before.
*Keep in mind that if you already have CKD check with your doctor before even considering taking any of these supplements!!*
What You Need to Know: Strategies to Combat Kidney Disease
It is imperative that aging individuals receive regular blood tests to monitor kidney health. In addition to standard creatinine, albumin, and BUN/creatinine ratio testing, cystatin-C levels should also be measured, as this constitutes a far more accurate biomarker of renal function.
The high-pressure and toxin-rich environment involved in renal function renders these delicate, highly complex organs especially vulnerable to damage, dysfunction, and disease.
High blood pressure, elevated blood sugar¸ NSAIDs, certain medications, and high-protein diets are the most common threats to kidney health.
Nutrients such as pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P) fight AGEs and ALEs.
CoQ10, silymarin, resveratrol, and lipoic acid are also clinically supported, potent interventions.
Omega-3 fatty acids help quell inflammation, contributing to enhanced kidney health.
A host of additional nutrients complement these actions, including folic acid (folate) and vitamins C and E.
Understanding Kidney Disease
The kidney ranks among the most complex and delicately evolved of all the major organs, making it particularly vulnerable to damage and dysfunction. As the body’s primary filtration system, it must “process” roughly 200 quarts of blood per day, rendering about 2 quarts of waste products and water.29
The fundamental structural unit of the kidney is the nephron. These high-pressure filtering mechanisms govern the removal of waste products and toxins, control blood pressure and volume, and regulate levels of electrolytes and metabolites in the blood. A healthy kidney contains approximately 800,000 to 1 million nephrons.
Housed within each nephron is a front-line filtration element called the glomerulus, a miniscule capillary coil. (The two together resemble an incandescent light bulb containing a convoluted filament.) The endothelial cells of the glomerulic capillaries act as the direct physical exchange between the kidney and the bloodstream. Waste products and water are combined to form urine, while blood cells and protein remain in the circulatory system.
The kidney’s tight control of water and mineral flow, and its role in maintaining healthy blood pressure and mineral balance, rely on the optimal functioning of nephrons and glomeruli. For this reason, one of the primary markers of kidney function is the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a measure of the volume of fluid the kidney is able to process at any given time.
The glomerular filtration rate; plasma concentrations of the waste substances creatinine, urea, and nitrogen (blood urea nitrogen or BUN); and levels of protein in the blood and urine are the most commonly used measures to determine the presence of CKD. Rapidly rising creatinine usually signals imminent kidney failure. There should be no protein in the urine if your kidneys are functioning optimally.
It should be noted that BUN and creatinine may not increase above the normal range until 60% of total kidney function is lost. This is why certain aging individuals should ask their doctors to test for cystatin-C in the blood. Cystatin-C is a protein produced by virtually all cells and tissues in the body. Because it is formed freely and at a near-constant rate—as opposed to albumin, which may fluctuate with dietary protein intake—plasma cystatin-C serves as a more accurate biomarker of renal function.30
CKD may be categorized in one of 5 stages. Stage 1, the mildest, is defined only by the persistent presence of protein in urine (GFR may be normal); in each successively higher stage, GFR declines, until Stage 5 is reached, defining end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure.31 ESRD is irreversible and results in death without dialysis or kidney transplant.32
Given the toxic, high-pressure conditions involved in renal function and the delicacy of the kidney’s structural components, it comes as no surprise that an array of near-constant internal and external insults may take a severe toll on the glomeruli and other parts of the kidney. Their incremental damage and destruction leads to the progressive decline in renal function seen in aging humans.
These internal and external insults include:
Hypertension. Over time, chronic high blood pressure inflicts damage to the endothelial cells lining the kidney’s blood vessels, including those within the glomeruli. The result is a familiar cascade of events that leads to the thickening of blood vessel walls and reduction in blood flow seen in atherosclerosis. Reduced blood flow is in turn directly translated into lower GFR. Pressure damage to the glomeruli also diminishes their filtration capacity, permitting large protein molecules such as albumin to pass into urine instead of remaining in circulation. (This is why urine albumin levels are used to detect kidney disease.)
Elevated serum glucose. Diabetes is now the leading cause of CKD.61 Experts predict even greater increases in CKD if rates of diabetes incidence continue to rise steeply.62 It should be noted, however, that high blood sugar poses a threat to kidney health even in non-diabetic individuals. Chronic exposure to glucose degrades and destroys kidney cells through the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs)—molecules generated through the pathologic binding of glucose to proteins in the body. AGEs cause primary structural proteins in the cells to cross-link and become non-functional, increasing oxidative stress, inflammation, and directly damaging kidney tissue.63-66 It has been established that even early-stage insulin resistance is associated with CKD.67
Excess fatty tissue. Body fat contributes to the development of CKD through production of inflammatory cytokines specific to adipose (fatty) tissue called adipokines. Along with AGEs and oxidative stress, adipokines exacerbate the inflammation commonly found in people with CKD.67 For this reason, metabolic syndrome—co-occurring insulin resistance, hypertension, and abdominal obesity—represents a perfect storm for the development of CKD. A 2007 study found that metabolic syndrome occurs in 30.5% of individuals with stage 4 or stage 5 chronic kidney disease.68 Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of chronic kidney disease, even before diabetes manifests.69
Protein over-consumption. Ingesting an excessive amount of protein, particularly meat, may tax the kidneys to the point of distress. The extraordinary increase in individuals adhering misguidedly to high-protein diets in order to lose weight has had the unintended consequence of boosting rates of kidney damage and disease. Meat consumption also results in high AGE production and the consequent inflammatory injury to kidney tissue.69 A prudent approach to dietary protein is thus encouraged by most experts, particularly in people who already have some degree of CKD.
Drugs. The nephrotoxic side effects of many commonly used medications comprise another significant causative factor in CKD. Chief among the mechanisms by which drugs cause kidney damage are oxidative stress and adverse alterations in cellular energy management. So-called “analgesic nephropathy” involves destruction of the active regions of the kidney by overuse of pain relievers, usually used in combinations of two or more, including the common over-the-counter medication acetaminophen (Tylenol®) as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) including high-dose aspirin, and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®).70-73 Chemotherapy agents have also been shown to significantly impair renal function.74,75 Please note that acetaminophen inflicts kidney damage via a different mechanism than pain relieving drugs like ibuprofen.
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.
The author, Duncan, claims that individuals can improve kidney function. I sincerely hope this is true. This is not a new belief. In fact, there is a lot of information out there on how to cleanse the kidneys, etc.
But for kidney transplant recipients (like myself), or people with renal failure, I always have out my antennae, wondering if stuff like this is more hype than we should believe. Just read it for yourself and, if necessary, check with your doctor, whether or not you have kidney disease.
Still, this is sure to be helpful for someone out there!