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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

On World Kidney Day U.S. Asked to Focus on Link with Heart Disease

National Kidney Disease Education Program suggests at least 10 things people can do to be kind to their kidneys - below news story more about kidney disease

kidney dialysisMarch 10, 2011 - More than 20 million adults, including millions of senior citizens, have chronic kidney disease and an estimated 16.3 million or roughly 7 percent of adults — have heart disease. Over 7.1 million have both. On World Kidney Day, Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is asking people to consider the link, and what they can do to protect kidney health.

As part of National Kidney Month, the National Institutes of Health’s  NKDEProgram suggests at least 10 things people can do to be kind to their kidneys and to look out for family and friends. (See below)

Topping the list is getting tested for kidney disease if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure. Learn about the other nine actions by visiting

10 things you can do to
protect your kidneys

and help family and friends protect theirs



If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure, get your blood and urine checked for kidney disease.



At your next family gathering, talk to loved ones with diabetes and high blood pressure about getting tested for kidney disease.


Learn how to keep your kidneys healthy.


Educate your faith-based community about the kidney connection.


Use spices, herbs and sodium-free seasonings in place of salt.


For those recently diagnosed with kidney disease, find out about the basics of kidney disease and what it means for you.


Watch videos to hear about the different treatment options for kidney failure.


Health care professionals: Learn more about two key markers for chronic kidney disease: urine albumin and estimated glomerular filtration rate.


Become an organ donor.


"Like" the NKDEP's Make the Kidney Connection Facebook page.


While NIH programs help people understand their kidneys and how to protect them, NIH researchers and those supported by NIH are working to better understand why and how the kidneys become damaged and how to prevent the disease and improve care:

The Frequent Hemodialysis Network Daily Trial found last November that increasing hemodialysis to six times week from the standard three times improved heart health. Learn more at

The Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort study is following nearly 4,000 adults to identify factors associated with rapid progression of kidney disease and the development or worsening of heart disease. What we learn from this study is expected to help us identify ways to intervene.

The Chronic Kidney Disease Biomarker Discovery and Validation Consortium is developing blood and urine tests to better predict patients who will have rapid progression of kidney disease or worsening of heart disease.

Learn more about these NIH studies and others at Participating in a clinical study is another way people can help themselves, family and friends. And there are many opportunities. Among the 85,000 studies listed, a recent search found nearly 5,000 related to kidney disease and more than 12,000 related to heart disease.


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The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of NIH, conducts and supports basic and clinical research and research training on some of the most common, severe and disabling conditions affecting Americans.

The institute's research interests include diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. For more information, visit

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

>> Best links to information on Kidney Disease (MedlinePlus for Seniors)

>> NIH site especially for senior citizens - NIHSeniorHealth

What Your Kidneys Do

You have two kidneys. They are bean-shaped, and about the size of a fist. They are located in the middle of your back, on the left and right sides of your spine, just below your rib cage. Their main job is to filter extra water and wastes out of your blood and make urine. They also help control blood pressure and make hormones that your body needs to stay healthy.

About Kidney Disease



By National Kidney Disease Education Program

Chronic kidney disease—called kidney disease here for short—is a condition in which the small blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, making the kidneys unable to do their job. Waste then builds up in the blood, harming the body.

Kidney disease is most often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure.
Diabetes and high blood pressure damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, so the kidneys are not able to filter the blood as well as they used to. Usually this damage happens slowly, over many years. As more and more blood vessels are damaged, the kidneys eventually stop working.

Other risk factors for kidney disease are cardiovascular (heart) disease and a family history of kidney failure. If you have any of these risk factors, you should get tested for kidney disease.

Early kidney disease has no symptoms
That means you can’t feel that you have it. In fact, you might feel just fine until your kidneys have almost stopped working. Don’t wait for symptoms. Blood and urine tests are the only way to know if you have kidney disease. A blood test measures your GFR and a urine test checks for protein. Learn more about tests for kidney disease.

Kidney disease can be treated if detected early.
The right treatment can help prevent further kidney damage and slow down kidney disease. The earlier kidney disease is found, the sooner you can take medications, called ACE inhibitors or ARBs, and other steps that can keep your kidneys healthy longer. Learn more about how to keep your kidneys healthy.

Kidney disease is progressive.
Kidney disease does not go away. Instead, it usually gets worse over time. Kidney disease can turn into kidney failure, at which point dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed. Kidney disease can also lead to heart disease. Learn more about what happens if your kidneys fail.

Take the first step
If you are at risk, get your blood and urine checked for kidney disease.

NKDEP is an initiative of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) ...More information


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