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May 31, 2011 > Chronic Kidney Disease: Learn About Treatment Options

Chronic Kidney Disease: Learn About Treatment Options

Physician Will Discuss Importance of Good Kidney Health at Upcoming Seminar

More than 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease and millions more are at risk of getting the ailment, according to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). Each year, more than 87,000 Americans die from causes related to kidney failure. This potentially lethal condition often goes unrecognized until it is advanced, when little can be done other than putting the patient on dialysis or performing an organ transplant.

Today, the NKF reports, "the incidence of end-stage kidney failure is rising fast, with more than 526,000 Americans currently receiving treatment for kidney failure (also called end stage renal disease or ESRD). This includes more than 367,000 dialysis patients and 158,000 people with functioning kidney transplants."

"Chronic kidney disease is insidious, very stealthy," says David T. Tay, M.D., a Fremont-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) on the medical staff at Washington Hospital. "The problem is that people who are afflicted often experience few, if any, symptoms until the disease is far along."

You can find out about this important health topic by coming to a free Health & Wellness seminar "Learn More about Kidney Disease," presented by Dr. Tay on Tuesday, June 7 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson M.D. Auditoriums, Rooms A, B &C inside the Washington West Building (2500 Mowry Ave.) in Fremont. To reserve your space, register online at or call (800) 963-7070. During the class, Dr. Tay will talk about the basic types of kidney disease and the latest treatments available.

"In most instances, people can't identify a problem with their kidneys based on how they are feeling," explains Dr. Tay. "Your physician has a much better chance of finding kidney problems through a routine blood test. People need to know if they are at risk, and they should have regular tests because early detection is important. Kidney disease has the potential to progress extensively before you realize what is happening."

Kidney function is essential for life. When healthy, the kidneys work continuously to remove body wastes from your blood. This process produces urine. The kidneys also get rid of excess body fluid and produce hormones that control blood pressure, produce red blood cells and contribute to bone health. In addition, the kidneys regulate important minerals in the body, such as potassium, sodium, calcium and phosphorus.

"During the seminar on June 7, we'll talk more about the important role your kidneys play in keeping you healthy," adds Dr. Tay.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney disease, accounting for about two-thirds of all cases. High blood pressure can cause kidney disease and, conversely, kidney disease can cause high blood pressure. The third most common cause of kidney disease is glomerulonephritis, a disease that inflames and damages the filtering system of the kidneys. Kidney problems can also be hereditary, and some stem from malformations that occur prior to birth. Kidney disease can also result from inflammatory diseases, such as systemic lupus, or from obstructions caused by kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate gland.

"One easy way to detect kidney disease is through a routine blood test that your doctor can order," states Dr. Tay. "It's called glomerular filtration rate or GFR. This is part of a Basic Metabolic Panel, which is a routine blood chemistry test. It will provide a quick answer as to whether your kidneys are functioning normally. Another essential test is a routine urinalysis, which gives your doctor an early warning of potential kidney problems."

If kidney disease is identified early, it will give doctors an opportunity to treat you more effectively. By knowing whether you are at higher risk for getting kidney disease, you can be more vigilant. People are at high risk if they have diabetes, hypertension or a family history of kidney disease. Groups who are at high risk for kidney disease include African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. Seniors are also more prone to developing kidney disease.

There are steps you can take to decrease your chances of getting kidney disease. First, you should see your doctor regularly, especially if you are at risk. If you smoke, you should quit. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to take medication to get your blood pressure under control. If you are diabetic, keeping your blood sugar controlled as soon as you are diagnosed may prevent kidney problems. Your doctor can recommend the best course of action.

Learn More About Kidney Disease

For more information about chronic kidney disease, go online to Web sites of the National Kidney Foundation at and the American Association of Kidney Patients at

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