Friday, December 30, 2011

ESRD Briefly Explained

So What Is End Stage Renal Disease?

There are some good websites out there that explain what end stage renal disease is. I am not an expert and no information here should be considered as medical advice, but I will just briefly relay some of the information I have picked up over the years.

In a nut shell, end stage renal disease occurs when your kidneys stop working. This can be a variety of reasons, often times it is caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure and diabetes. There are other causes as well, such as kidney disease. And unfortunately if a person has all three of the above conditions that can really wreak havoc on your body.  For the sake of being accurate, people can also develop end stage renal disease by injury or trauma to the kidneys or major blood loss.

The medical world tells us that end stage renal disease (ESRD) is permanent. It cannot be changed. Once someone reaches ESRD, the only way to stay alive is dialysis or transplant.  Personally I hope this isn’t true and I am researching nutrition in the hopes of improving my condition.

In my case there were several reasons that led me to end stage renal failure. As I alluded to in another post I was diagnosed with a kidney disease (also referred to as chronic kidney disease) at the age of 18. Between the ages of 31 and 33 I went from stage 2 (mild) kidney disease to stage 5 (end stage renal disease) without knowing things had gotten so bad. Sometime over the last year and a half I developed mild type 2 diabetes (mild because it is currently easy to control by eating the right foods). Also my blood pressure was high and uncontrolled for that same period of time.   

Because the kidneys filter excess fluid and waste from our blood, that process depends on healthy blood vessels. But high blood pressure damages the blood vessels in and leading to your kidneys. This leads to damaged kidneys over time.

Make sure to have your blood pressure checked and encourage your loved ones to do the same! And yes, EVEN if they don’t have health insurance!

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