Although not as highly publicized as heart disease or cancer, kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in our country. More than 26 million Americans have kidney disease. Sadly, most do not even know it. When diagnosed, this disease has a major life-changing impact on the individual and those that support them.
Currently, more than 590,000 people in the United States have kidney failure and over 95,000 people are waiting on a kidney transplant list.
There are many ways to prevent kidney disease and it begins with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Begin with following a healthy diet, lower your intake of salt, exercise and lose weight if you are overweight, moderate your alcohol intake and quit smoking. All of these factors not only assist in maintaining healthy renal function, but affect your life in many ways.
When working in the hospital, I had the privilege of leadership over outpatient dialysis units. Nurses working in dialysis units are some of the most dedicated individuals I have encountered. Working daily with chronic individuals suffering from kidney disease can be difficult, yet the nurses were devoted to those in their care providing treatments that supported life. Dialysis nurses are acutely aware of the need for kidney disease prevention and they do a tremendous job promoting kidney health.
March is National Kidney Month. This is your opportunity as a healthcare professional to spread awareness of kidney disease, promote prevention methods and assist with lifesaving services available to those fighting kidney disease. If you are a renal or dialysis nurse – THANK YOU! If you know a nurse in this area, recognize them for their dedication and hard work.
Although we dedicate March as National Kidney Month, you can be a kidney health champion at any time. Ask how you can help to provide information to your patients and community on how to prevent this life altering disease.