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Kidney Disease

The kidneys as best known for their ability to filter wastes and excess fluids from blood, which are then excreted in urine, but they also help regulate blood pressure, maintain electrolyte and mineral balance, produce a form of vitamin D, and even help the body produce red blood cells. A diagnosis of kidney disease (often called renal disease or renal failure) means that a person’s kidneys are damaged, resulting in their inability to filter blood effectively. Chronic kidney disease or chronic renal failure develops over many years and can lead to end-stage kidney disease, resulting in the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant. Chronic kidney disease affects approximately one of every seven Americans, with higher rates found among African Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans. The rates of chronic kidney disease are also higher among women than among men.

The two most common causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Having a family member with kidney disease can also raise a person’s chance of developing it. The encouraging news is that with proper control of one’s blood sugar and blood pressure, kidney disease can often be prevented or the impact of kidney disease can be minimized. 

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