Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter Sunday

I wish you and your family a happy Easter Sunday.  I find this Holy Day to be special: we celebrate our risen Christ, who rose from the grave and reigns eternally at the right hand of God. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dialysis Treatment for kidney failure

One of my blog readers asked about dialysis treatments for kidney failure.  What is dialysis? 

Dialysis is a medical treatment which removes the waste products when a person’s kidneys can no longer filter and remove the waste products from the blood.  When a person’s kidneys fail (whether in an acute short-term situation or a chronic, long-term basis), the waste products of the body (salts, wastes and excess fluid) build up.  If not filtered and removed, a dangerous, life-threatening condition called uremia occurs.    Before modern treatments of dialysis and kidney transplants were developed, the person with kidney failure died within a short period of time.

Dialysis treatments do what a person’s kidneys are failing to do:   clean and filter the waste products out of the blood.  Most people who undergo dialysis begin this treatment because their kidneys are failing (approximately 10 to 15% of kidney function or less) and dialysis will be needed indefinitely. 

There are situations where an acute infection or illness causes a person’s kidneys to falter in their work.  In this case, a few dialysis treatments help support the person’s body and remove the waste products until kidney function improves.  This acute treatment dialysis is only for a short time, not an indefinite lifetime routine.  

More information can be found at

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Treatment for kidney disease/failure

As a treatment plan is made, doctors want to know the cause of the chronic kidney disease.  

When the kidneys fail (called end-stage renal disease), dialysis and/or kidney transplant is needed. Dialysis cleans the blood, removing waste products and excess fluids because a person’s kidneys can no longer do their filtering job.   More information about kidney disease/failure and treatment can be found at

Surgery for kidney disease/failure happens for a kidney transplant.  During the organ transplant, a surgeon takes a healthy kidney from a donor and transplants it into the recipient.  Kidney donors can be from living persons or deceased donors.  More information at

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Diagnosing kidney disease/failure

Three simple tests can detect chronic kidney disease:  blood pressure reading, a urine albumin test and a blood test called serum creatinine.  If these tests indicate kidney failure, your doctor may do further testing such as ultrasound.  The doctor may recommend a biopsy of kidney tissue be done to determine the cause, the status and the best treatment for the kidney disease.  The National Kidney Foundation website gives great information at

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Symptoms of kidney disease/failure

What are symptoms of kidney disease?  Kidney disease often happens quietly and without warning.  As the kidney function decreases, the kidneys cannot filter the blood as easily and efficiently.  Symptoms may be vague such as feeling tired and lacking energy, having difficulty thinking clearly, having a poor appetite, not being able to sleep, dealing with muscle cramps at night, having swollen feet and ankles,

having dry, itchy skin, having puffy skin around the eyes, and needing to urinate often, especially at night.  National Kidney Foundation website,

Friday, March 22, 2013

One more way to protect our kidneys

One more important way to protect our kidneys involves over-the-counter drugs.  The experts recognize that over-the-counter pain medications can be harmful to our kidneys.  According to the Mayo website, Kidney Failure, Chronic, “taking too many pain relievers could lead to kidney damage.”

If you are a person who deals with pain, talk with your doctor about protecting your kidneys while you deal with pain.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Protecting our kidneys

Another way to protect our kidneys from kidney failure is to keep blood pressure within a normal range.  Blood pressure is the amount of pressure your heart has to exert to push the blood out into arteries and to your body.  The top number (systolic) is the pressure needed to push the blood out during the heart’s pumping.  The bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure inside the blood vessels during rest (when the heart isn’t pumping)

What is a “normal blood pressure?”  According to the Mayo Clinic website High Blood Pressure,  a blood pressure with top number lower than 120 and bottom number lower than 80 is considered “normal”.  This would be written as BP 120/80.  When either number is higher, it’s time to monitor and talk with your doctor.  Some suggested lifestyle changes include “maintain a healthy weight, be active every day, eat fewer foods high in salt and sodium, eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, and lowfat dairy products.  Take your medicine the way your doctor tells you.  Have your blood pressure checked often.”  These recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website,