World Kidney Day: Quick Facts about Kidney Disease

For such small organs, our kidneys tackle big important jobs within the body. Our kidneys make urine, remove toxins and excess water from our blood, help control blood pressure, produce red blood cells, control blood stream levels of minerals like sodium and potassium and help keep bones healthy.

Surprisingly, a person can lose up to 90% of their kidney function before experiencing any symptoms showing there is a problem. Signs of advancing chronic kidney disease include swollen ankles, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased appetite, blood in the urine and foamy urine. Kidney disease affects approximately 850 million people worldwide.

Are you at risk? If you answer yes to any of these questions, talk with your doctor about testing for kidney disease, which involves simple laboratory tests on small samples of blood and urine. Early detection and treatment are critical to help patients with kidney disease delay or prevent kidney failure.

Risk Factors

  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Do you suffer from diabetes?
  • Do you have a family history of kidney disease?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Are you over 50 years?
  • Are you of African, Hispanic, Aboriginal or Asian origin?

For more information about Memorial’s transplant services, visit the Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services.