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March 5, 2008 > Washington Hospital to Sponsor World Kidney Day Seminar

Washington Hospital to Sponsor World Kidney Day Seminar

Learn More About Prevention, Risk Factors and Treatment Options for Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a global problem. More than 500 million people worldwide - or about one adult in ten - have some form of kidney damage. In the United States, an estimated 20 million people suffer from chronic kidney disease and an additional 20 million who are at risk. And nearly half of the people with advanced form of kidney disease do not know they have weak or failing kidneys.

What Do My Kidneys Do?
Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They are located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Although the kidneys are small organs by weight, they receive a large amount (20 percent) of the blood pumped by the heart.

"Your kidneys are a sophisticated filtration system that works to keep your blood clean," says Dr. Lucia Yumena, a Fremont nephrologist and a member of the medical staff at Washington Hospital. "Every day, your kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood that sifts out and removes waste and extra water. The kidneys also release hormones into the blood to help regulate blood pressure and they perform many functions to keep your blood chemically balanced."

To call attention to the crucial role of the kidneys and the pressing need for the early detection and prevention of kidney disease, Washington Hospital is sponsoring a special World Kidney Day Seminar on Tuesday, March 11 to help raise awareness about chronic kidney disease. A panel of four Washington Hospital physicians who specialize in nephrology will explain the many risk factors and stages of chronic kidney disease. The free seminar will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditoriums located at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West).

What Causes Kidney Disease?
The two most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases. As the rate of diabetes and high blood pressure continues to rise in the United States, so does kidney disease. If your family has a history of any kind of kidney problems, you may be at risk for kidney disease.

During the upcoming seminar, the physicians will highlight and discuss some of the most common causes of kidney disease such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Yumena will focus her attention on the prevalence and stages of kidney disease.
"To help determine kidney disease, physicians measure the level of protein in your urine and we also check your blood pressure," says Yumena. "We also check the level of serum creatinine in your blood to estimate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR)."
Dr. Yumena says the GFR is the best measure of kidney function because it uses a number to help figure out a person's stage of kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease has been divided into five specific stages:
* Stage 1 with normal or high GFR (GFR > 90 ml/min)
* Stage 2 Mild CKD (GFR = 60-89 ml/min)
* Stage 3 Moderate CKD (GFR = 30-59 ml/min)
* Stage 4 Severe CKD (GFR = 15-29 ml/min)
* Stage 5 End Stage CKD (GFR <15 ml/min)
Early Detection is Key - Who's At Risk?
Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. A simple urine analysis in a doctor's office can detect kidney disease. A patient's blood can also be tested to indicate how well the kidneys are filtering wastes.

People that fall into the high risk category of developing kidney disease are:
* Patients with diabetes and hypertension.
* Individuals who are obese or smoke.
* Individuals over 65 years of age.
* Individuals with a family history of diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease.
* Patients with a presence of other kidney diseases.

"If people have any of the risk factors, they shouldn't be shy about talking with their doctor about kidney disease," said Dr. Yumena. "The upcoming lecture is a great opportunity for people to learn more about the disease and help empower them to participate in their own health care."

The 3rd Annual World Kidney Day is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations. For more detailed information about World Kidney Day, please visit

Four Washington Hospital physicians will discuss the following kidney disease topics at the World Kidney Day seminar:

Speaker: Lucia Yumena, M.D., Nephrologist
Topic: Prevalence and Stages of Kidney Disease

Speaker: Neelam M. Bhalla, M.D., Nephrologist
Topic: Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease in Relation to Kidney Disease

Speaker: Jeanie J. Ahn, M.D., Nephrologist
Topic: Complications Related to Kidney Disease

Speaker: Clifford Wong, M.D., Nephrologist
Topic: Anemia and Chronic Kidney Disease

To register for the March 11 seminar, call Washington Hospital's toll-free Health Connection line at (800) 963-7070 or register online at The seminar will take place at the Conrad E. Anderson Auditoriums, Rooms A&B located at Washington West (2500 Mowry Avenue).

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