Some Americans May Have Kidney Disease Without Knowing it

People with kidney disease often do not show any symptoms until it is too late.

"You can't feel it. You don't know you have it," explains Celia Langlieb.

Celia is talking about kidney disease. She did not know she had it until a visit to the doctor showed her kidneys were only functioning at 25 percent.

"They could fail at any time. You don't know. They have no way of predicting. May stay at this level for the next five, 10 years or it may change next year," says Langlieb.

In Celia's case the kidney disease is a result of chemotherapy treatment for her ovarian cancer.

The two most common risk factors are diabetes and high blood pressure.

"Both of those diseases often go undiagnosed until they're seen by their physician and their blood pressure is taken or their blood sugar is checked," explains Dr. David Roer, Nephrologist.

Dr. David Roer says only about 25 percent of people who have kidney disease actually realize it, which is even more reason to talk to your doctor.

"It's not a question I think most people go to their doctors asking, but through this program we're hoping they'll be active and ask their physicians," says Roer.

If kidney disease is caught early enough, a patient can avoid going on dialysis.

Celia has to take high blood pressure medicine and stay away from salt. "It's really so difficult when you go out. Everything on the luncheon menu is full of sodium, so it's a challenge," she says.

However, it is a small price to pay to keep active.


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