• March is National Kidney Month

    Posted on March 8, 2010 by in Featured

    March is National Kidney Month.  Kidney disease may impact an individual’s ability to age in place, as the disease can affect safety, independence and ability level.

    While small in size, the kidneys play an important role.

    The role of the Kidneys include:

    • Controlling blood pressure
    • Removing the body’s waste products
    • Stimulating bone marrow to make red blood cells
    • Helping the body maintain calcium for the bones

    When someone has kidney disease, the kidneys aren’t working properly, resulting in a buildup of waste materials in the blood.   Kidney disease is most often the result of diabetes or high blood pressure.

    Diabetic Kidney Disease:

    Type II Diabetes is a chronic condition and the most common form of diabetes.  It occurs when there is an excess of sugar in the bloodstream and the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. With diabetic kidney disease, the nephrons, the part of the kidneys that remove waste, become damaged.  As a result, the body doesn’t break down glucose; instead, glucose remains in the blood.  Managing blood glucose levels is crucial and can delay or prevent diabetic kidney disease.    Source:



    High Blood Pressure & Kidney Disease:

    High blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys.  This damage can result in the inability of the kidneys to effectively remove waste products from the body.  The National Institutes of Health and The American Diabetes Association both recommend that the target blood pressure for someone with diabetes be less than 130/80 mmHG.  Blood pressure can be managed through medications, diet, and exercise.


    The Kidneys can sustain damage several ways.

    Acute Kidney Injuries can occur when:

    • Someone looses a lot of blood
    • Drugs make the kidneys stop working
    • Poisoning occurs that prevent the kidneys from working

    Chronic Kidney Disease occurs when there is a slow loss of kidney functioning.  People with chronic kidney failure are at increased risk for

    • Heart attacks
    • Stroke

    End Stage Renal Disease occurs when there is permanent failure of the kidneys, resulting in the kidneys no longer having the ability to regulate electrolytes, remove waste, and concentrate urine.  Treatment for the disease includes dialysis or a kidney transplant.  Additionally, individuals may be placed on a restricted diet and be given medications to increase their urine output.

    The kidneys play a huge role in our overall health.  When they don’t function correctly, it can impact many aspects of our health.  Knowing the link between diabetes and blood pressure and the importance of managing your blood pressure and glucose levels can help improve the quality of your life and in turn help you to age in place.

    Click here to learn more about the test used to detect kidney disease.

    Sources:  National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse

    The American Diabetes Association

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I’m a medical student and like your post so much:) Actually, high blood pressure makes your heart work harder and, over time, can damage blood vessels throughout your body. If the blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing wastes and extra fluid from your body. The extra fluid in your blood vessels may then raise blood pressure even more. It’s a dangerous cycle. Thanks! @VICTORIA:)