March is National Kidney Month

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Rajeev Williams
  • 55th Medical Support Squadron
You might be wondering, "What do my kidneys do that's so important that there is a whole month to raise awareness about them?" They do much more than people may realize.


· Remove waste products from the body

· Balance the body's fluids

· Control blood pressure

· Regulate the body's mineral and acidity levels

· Activate vitamin D to regulate bone health

· Help stimulate the production of red blood cells

Needless to say, kidneys are an important factor in maintaining good health.

When they fail, you may not notice any difference at first, but the later stages of kidney failure can have several physical impacts. They include fatigue, frequent urination, loss of appetite, nausea, swelling of the hands or feet, feeling itchy, darkened skin and muscle cramps.

Once your kidneys fail completely, a condition known as End-Stage Renal Disease, you'll need either a transplant or dialysis to stay alive.

Kidney health is a major challenge in America. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, In 2007, almost 111,000 people in the United States began treatment for the most advanced stage of the disease, kidney failure. That year, treatment costs paid by Medicare totaled $23.9 billion -- 5.8 percent of the Medicare budget.

Unfortunately, by the time most kidney diseases are recognized, they have been at work for years and the damage is hard to reverse. So, to help prevent kidney disease and maintain good health here are some simple tips to follow: don't eat too much protein, don't take over the counter pain medication too often, drink lots of water and eat healthy to avoid high cholesterol and diabetes.

Following these tips can help keep your kidneys healthy, and as an extra bonus, you may notice reduced lower back pain along with faster, stronger growing hair.

For more information about kidney health, visit http://yourkidneys.com/kidney-education/The-basics/What-kidneys-do/3184,  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/03/national-kidney-month-kicks-off/ or