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Kidney disease is a common, serious and costly ailment that can be battled

Diabetes and high blood pressure cause more than 70 percent of the cases of end stage kidney disease in Georgia. End stage kidney disease or renal disease (ESRD) occurs when the kidneys can no longer filter out waste from the body. Usually this happens because uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure have damaged the blood vessels to the kidneys.

Kidney disease is among the most common, serious, and costly chronic diseases in Georgia and the United States. It is the ninth leading cause of death in Georgia, accounting for 1,475 deaths in 2003, equivalent to four deaths every day. The age-adjusted mortality rate of kidney disease in Georgia has been 30 percent to 40 percent higher than that of the United States since 1980.

Georgia has a higher rate of ESRD than the national average. Men are 1.3 times more likely to develop it than women and African Americans are over four times more likely than whites to get it. In 2002, 14,600 patients in Georgia had ESRD, and the estimated cost of treatment was about $905 million.

Oddly, ESRD is not evenly distributed through Georgia. It is more likely in the Southwest and Mid-eastern parts of the state and less common in the northern parts. Kidney disease has five stages and only the final stage requires kidney dialysis or kidney transplant.

If you control your diabetes and high blood pressure, you can often slow down the pace of the disease. Monitor your blood glucose frequently to control your diabetes. And check your blood pressure often even if you have not had blood pressure problems before. Also have regular kidney function tests done by your medical team.

Weight control, being physically active, drinking very little alcohol and taking medication for your diabetes and high blood pressure will help to control these conditions. Salt restriction and getting plenty of vegetables and fruits and adequate amounts of whole grains, beans and peas, and fat-free or reduced-fat dairy foods and small amounts of nuts can help lower blood pressure.

Special blood pressure medicines called ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers can slow down kidney disease or prevent it entirely. A doctor may suggest you take one of them even if you do not have high blood pressure.

Clearly kidney disease is serious, but you can make choices to prevent it or at least delay it as long as possible.



Web posted on Thursday, July 27, 2006













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