March is dedicated to National Kidney Month. The kidneys, two bean-shaped organs located in the back of the abdomen, perform crucial functions to filter out toxins, produce red blood cells, and regulate pH. They filter about half a cup of blood every hour, creating urine from harmful and unnecessary waste.
When kidneys fail to function properly, waste builds up in the blood and leads to a weakened system and a host of problems like anemia, nerve damage, and high blood pressure. Chronic kidney disease(CKD) affects more than 1 in 7 American adults and is the 9th leading cause of death in the U.S.
History of National Kidney Month
National Kidney Month, observed every March, brings awareness to kidney health and encourages people to support kidney disease research and take steps to keep their own kidneys safe and healthy.
Kidneys filter blood, make urine, and produce the red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body. These vital organs also control blood pressure and produce vitamin D to keep bones strong.
Malfunctioning kidneys can lead to painful kidney stones and infections that, left untreated, require a transplant. Some pre-existing conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes, put you at increased risk for kidney disease.
Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD) affects almost 40 million American adults. In 2016, three-quarters of a million people in the U.S. required dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis and kidney transplants, the only treatment options for severe kidney failure, are difficult, expensive, and not always available. Patients seeking new organs may not always get them in time to survive; in the U.S., twelve people die each day waiting for a kidney.
To prevent kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation recommends taking proactive steps to keep your kidneys healthy and prevent the onset of CKD. You can protect your kidneys by managing high blood pressure, making healthy food and drink choices, and reducing stress.
The National Kidney Foundation grew out of a mother’s determination to further research into treatment for kidney conditions. When her infant son was diagnosed with nephrosis, Ada DeBold started the Committee for Nephrosis Research to organize efforts to find treatments and connect patients and doctors. DeBold continued crusading for the organization, which eventually became the National Kidney Foundation. The Foundation conducts fundraising to support important research into the treatment and prevention of kidney disease.