National Kidney Month

OHIO — Many medical routines were interrupted during the pandemic, including screenings for chronic conditions, like kidney disease.

March is National Kidney Month, and as the healthcare industry adjusts to lowering COVID cases, medical professionals are calling attention to early diagnosis and preventive measures.


What You Need To Know

  • March is National Kidney Month and healthcare professionals are reminding adults to get screened for chronic kidney disease
  • The rate of adults in Ohio suffering from chronic kidney disease is at 3.6%, which is almost 1% higher than the national average
  • People who have a family history of diabetes and hypertension should get screened once per year
  • Healthcare professionals are reminding people who may have postponed their routine medical exams because of the pandemic, to get back on track and schedule their physicals

Kathleen Belmonte, chief nursing officer at Fresenius Medical Care North America, said, for kidney disease in particular, it’s important to be a step ahead, especially if diabetes and hypertension are involved.

“The leading causes are diabetes and hypertension and these two conditions account for about 75% of new diagnoses of chronic kidney disease”, Belmonte said. “Now, beyond this, people who have a family history of kidney disease or kidney failure, are also at risk but these are really important things to manage so that you can halt or prevent onset or progression of kidney disease.”

When it comes to the symptoms of chronic kidney disease, Belmonte said most people can’t really notice any changes until much later as the disease progresses.

“So people don’t know that they have CKD,” said Belmonte. “And it’s really important to make sure you are getting screened if you have diabetes or hypertension or a family history for that very reason, when you are later in kidney disease, so around stage 5, stage 4, you may experience symptoms like fatigue, swelling of your hands and feet, shortness of breath, headaches, are common symptoms of chronic kidney disease in the later stages”.

According to the CDC, the rate of adults in Ohio suffering from chronic kidney disease is at 3.6%, almost 1% higher than the national average, and it shoots up to 7% among those without a college degree.

It’s why Belmonte said early detection is critical.

“Many people do not know they have chronic kidney disease and so it’s really important that if you have diabetes and hypertension and you’re meeting with your healthcare provider, that you ask to be tested for CKD, and it’s really super simple, very simple blood test, a simple urine test at least once a year if you have risk factors should be taking place,” she said.

Another thing for people to remember is to get back on track with routine medical testing; which people may have postponed because of the pandemic.

“You definitely need to get back on track in 2022 in making sure that you are getting tested because if you don’t have symptoms,” Belmonte said. “It’s really important to detect chronic kidney disease in the early stages so you have more ability to slow or halt the progression.”

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