March is National Kidney Month! This year’s focus is the link between high blood pressure and kidney disease. Kidney disease develops when kidneys lose their ability to remove waste and maintain fluid and chemical balances in the body. The severity of chronic kidney disease (CKD) depends on how well the kidneys filter waste from the blood. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease. Because there are little to no signs of the condition, most people are not even aware that they have kidney disease until it reaches the later stages, including kidney failure.
Since there are often no symptoms of early kidney disease, laboratory tests are critical. When you get a screening, a technician will draw blood that will be tested for creatinine, a waste product. If kidney function is abnormal, creatinine levels will increase in the blood due to decreased excretion of creatinine in the urine. Your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) will then be calculated, which factors in your age, gender, creatinine, and ethnicity. Your GFR indicates your stage of chronic kidney disease and provides an evaluation of kidney function.
End stage renal disease patients have two treatment options. Dialysis is a treatment that removes wastes and excess fluid from blood when the kidneys are not able to do it on their own. Typically, it is necessary upon development of kidney failure. There are over 380,000 people in the United States who depend on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis (PD) treatments to stay alive. The only other treatment option for people with end stage renal disease is a kidney transplant.
If you suffer from kidney disease, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you meet the criteria under one of Social Security’s listings for genitourinary disorders (6.00), or if your condition otherwise prevents you from working. Please contact us for a free evaluation of your case.
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®