Dispelling The Most Common Myths About Kidney Disease

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the prevalence of chronic kidney disease amongst the general population is around 14 percent. Out of the 661,000 Americans who have kidney failure, 468,000 approximately are undergoing dialysis treatment and 193,000 individuals live today with a functioning kidney transplant. These numbers can perhaps help us dismiss one of the most common myths surrounding kidney disease, and that is that this illness is rare and uncommon in today’s society.

The Stethoscope_joe cosgrove_medicine_Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis

Image courtesy of Alex Proimos at Flickr.com

Today here in Joe Cosgrove’s Blog, we want to take some time to talk about some of the most common misconceptions behind kidney disease and what it means if you are diagnosed with renal failure. As it happens with many diseases, people are often misinformed and misguided about their expectations and their personal involvement into their own treatment and the expectancy of quality of life.

Kidneys are specialized organs in the body with the function of removing excess water and waste material from the blood and expelling them through urine. There are many reasons why kidneys may become damaged or suffer an overload of stress as their function is taxing and extremely important in context with how many systems of the human body operate.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions behind kidney disease and its treatments.

You can easily tell if you have it.

The truth is that the large majority of people who have kidney disease are completely unaware of it. This happens because, in the early stages of the disease, symptoms are mostly nonexistent. The irony of this is that your best defense against kidney disease lays on early detection, but by the time the signs and symptoms are abundantly clear, then the disease is probably reaching a very advanced stage. Our recommendation for early detection is to get tested early if you are a person with a propensity for kidney disease due to your own health or if kidney disease is common in your family.   

There is little you can do to prevent it

There are many things you can do to prevent kidney disease before you get it and even after you have been diagnosed. A healthy diet and a regular dose of exercise goes a long way not only preventing from stressing your kidneys unnecessarily but also helping you with your overall health in general. Regular over the counter pain medication is particularly taxing on your kidneys. It is common for people to abuse this type of over the counter medicine because it is so easily available and because we have a bad habit of taking it for everything. Remember that your kidneys perform a difficult function so any help you can give them from your end will go a long way on making sure they remain healthy.

If you are urinating fine, then you are probably OK

While changes in your urine and in the way your body reacts when you are peeing are the most common indicators of kidney health, they are not the only signals when something is wrong. Even if your kidneys are damaged, they may continue to pass urine without any pain or changes in color while not filtering your blood properly. There are other symptoms like fatigue; swelling and joint pain that could raise a red flag and indicate you should probably get tested. Remember that a family history of kidney disease is a reason to be concerned if you have any doubts.

Doctor and Patient

Image courtesy of andyde at Flickr.com

Dialysis is painful

Patients undergoing dialysis talk about the physical feeling more in the terms of “discomfort” rather than “pain”. While it may be a bit uncomfortable, the new technologies and the advances in health treatment can ensure that they pain you have to experience is minimal and only while you get used to the treatment, something that happens rather quickly. Pain is not something you should seriously consider when thinking about dialysis because it is a factor you can pretty much ignore as negligible.

Your diet is going to be strict and boring

This is a rumor born out of pure ignorance. You have to take control of your own health and talk with your nutritionist to come up with a change to your eating habits and find foods that can be good for you while being tasty and easy to prepare. Changes to your diet may be necessary but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice eating all the food you love. You just have to become smarter about the way you treat your body and be more conscious about what you eat. That is something we can all used a little bit of.

I cannot travel on dialysis

Patients on dialysis are able to travel normally as long as they play things out accordingly. It isn’t difficult to find treatment centers where you are going and schedule appointments in advanced. There are also great new alternatives that can let you take your equipment with you and receive the treatment wherever you want.



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