(BlackDoctor.org) — The World Kidney Day 2012 Q&A was a HUGE success…thanks to you!
Did you know that African Americans account for 30% of all people in the United States with kidney failure? While this number is troubling, your dedication to asking the right questions, and spreading the right knowledge to your family and friends, is crucial to turning that 30% to 0%.
Dr. Griffin Rodgers, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, would like to thank everyone at BDO for taking the time to take part in this engaging conversation about how to keep your kidneys, and your entire body, healthy.
Without further ado, here are Dr. Rodgers’ responses to all of your World Kidney Day Q&A questions:
Alex Ferguson: How often do I need to be tested for kidney disease?
If you have diabetes, you should get checked every year. If you have other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure, talk to your provider about how often you should be tested.
Angela Lester: Does alcohol affect kidney function?
Hi Angela, great question. Alcohol does not directly affect kidney function but excessive alcohol is a health risk.
Katye Brown: I’m on potassium pill cause my kidney don’t make its own potassium, I also have high blood pressure too.
Some water pills increase potassium loss in the urine. There are some people with low potassium and high blood pressure due to a hormone imbalance. If you have low potassium and high blood pressure and are not on a water pill, you should discuss with your health provider whether you need special testing.
Lydia L.: How would one know if she has kidney disease?
Most people with kidney disease have no symptoms until their kidney damage is quite advanced. It is important to get screened with blood and urine tests. Kidney disease can get worse over time, and may lead to kidney failure. Ask your provider for two important tests – a blood test and a urine test.
Robert Avery: If my father has high blood pressure and diabetes, can I develop kidney disease?
Diabetes and high blood pressure tend to run in families and they are the key risk factors for kidney disease. Talk to your health provider to see if you’re at risk. Early identification of kidney disease is key!
Keeley Williams Garth: Protein in the urine…..what, why, how?
Albumin (a form of protein) in urine may be a sign of kidney damage. A healthy kidney does not let albumin pass into the urine. A damaged kidney lets albumin pass into the urine.
Stephanie Britton: What foods/liquids should I avoid if my family has history of kidney disease? I’m getting checked today.
It’s great that you’re getting checked today! Here are a few general tips to keep your kidneys healthy – Cut back on salt. Aim for less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day. Also, be sure to choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
RJ Griffin: What labs detect kidney problems?
There are two tests that can diagnose kidney disease: a blood test that checks your GFR, which tells how well your kidneys are filtering, and a urine test that checks for albumin, a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged.
Rhonda Perkins: What effect does vitamins and supplements have on the kidneys?
The effect that vitamins and supplements can have really varies depending what you’re taking.
Stephanie Tillman Lee: What can you do to offset the high blood pressure medications from affecting your liver enzymes?
Most blood pressure medications do not affect your liver. If your liver enzymes are abnormal, talk with your health provider.
Allison Michelle Whitaker: What can I do to lose these extra 40 pounds? I have high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, and I can’t exercise my legs.
I recommend that you speak with a dietitian to create an eating plan that’s right for your needs. Also, you may want to try a physical activity that works for you, such as swimming.
Stafford Johnson: I want to know if HBP ever,ever goes away and if so,what do we do to keep it at bay? I workout and do all kinds of healthy stuff, but it seems to haunt me still. I am 6’6″, 268 pounds and play pro indoor football. I feel fine, but when I do my checkups every now and then, the doc always tells me to work on changing my diet??