12,000 people living with kidney failure in Wisconsin; diet is critical in slowing progression

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 8:18 AM CDT
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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - The month of March is National Kidney Month. Its purpose is to bring awareness to kidney health and encourage people to learn about kidney disease. In the U.S., 37 million people have kidney disease, and one in three adults are at risk for developing the condition.

In Wisconsin, 12,000 people are living with kidney failure. That’s one of the reasons why the nephrology nurse at DaVita Kidney Care in Marshfield, Jamie Redmond is sharing ways people can prevent the disease, or slow the progression. Redmond said people can do that by going to the doctor for check-ups, managing chronic conditions better and knowing family history.

Kidneys are responsible for removing waste and fluid from the body. When people have the disease, that means their kidneys are slowly and gradually losing function. Diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the leading causes of the disease, but Redmond, said signs and symptoms for kidney disease are often vague.

“It’s really critical for people that do have diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney disease or heart disease, that they really take the time to be with their primary care providers and take good care of those conditions to try to prevent kidney disease from happening,” Redmond explained.

She said diet is one of the most important parts of prevention and slowing the progression.

“Your diet is critical for anything related to your kidneys and for diabetes and blood pressure. But for kidney disease, specifically, your diet is so important that we actually have registered dieticians at every dialysis center in DaVita, across the nation.”

Redmond said DaVita’s goal is to help maintain as much kidney function as possible before patients go into kidney failure.

“Once you’re in kidney failure, your options are dialysis or transplant. And with dialysis, that’s where we are mechanically removing the waste and fluid from a person’s blood and body. And it’s a hard life. So we want to try to prevent kidney failure and help people that are in kidney disease maintain their kidneys as long as possible. And like I said diet is going to be very, very key for that.”

“Your kidneys are working 24/7 to make sure that your body is staying strong and healthy, and that you’re removing fluid and that everything is going the way it should. When those don’t work, nothing works,” she explained.

DaVita Kidney Care has free, healthy cookbooks available on its website for people to download.

People can also take a ‘Kidney Smart’ class that is free to learn about the basics of kidneys, diet, what to do if diagnosed with the disease, and the options if the disease progresses into failure. Click here to learn more about those classes.

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