Dear Annie: I switched doctors six years ago – and my world fell apart. My new doctor insisted on all kinds of new tests, and I’m glad she did. Simple blood and urine tests let me know that there was a good possibility my kidneys weren’t functioning well.
I didn’t know that there are rarely any symptoms until the kidneys are failing. I didn’t know that one in three American adults is at risk for kidney disease. I didn’t know that high blood pressure and diabetes are two of the leading causes of this disease. But I learned quickly that early detection and proper treatment can slow its progress.
I learned so much in the following months: why I need to watch my weight, why regular exercise helps and why I need to make sure my high blood pressure is under control. I’ve been able to maintain the same degree of kidney function since being diagnosed, but not without lots of information and changes in my lifestyle.
March is National Kidney Month. March 13 is World Kidney Day. Won’t you help me join the National Kidney Foundation in urging Americans to learn about the risk factors and simple blood and urine tests for kidney disease? There are many free kidney health screenings around the country. The National Kidney Foundation at kidney.org provides information about these screenings and about staying healthy. Thank you. – Gail Rae-Garwood, Glendale, Ariz.
Dear Gail Rae-Garwood: Thank you so much for sharing your story. We hope our readers will take your advice and check for screenings in their area or discuss their kidney health with their personal physicians. We are sure your letter will help many. Bless you.
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