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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Kidney Disease

Description: After the body has taken what it needs from food for energy and self-repair, waste is sent to the blood. If the kidneys do not remove these wastes, they build up in the blood and damage the body. Most kidney diseases cause the organs to lose their filtering capacity. The two most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. It may take years or even decades for the damage to become apparent.

Symptoms: People in the early stages of kidney disease may not feel sick at all. The first signs may be general -- frequent headaches, feeling tired or itchy all over the body. As kidney disease gets worse, there is a need to urinate more often or less often; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting; and the hands or feet may swell or feel numb.

Number of Americans diagnosed: Each year in the United States, nearly 80,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure.

Long-term problems/treatments: The condition of permanent kidney failure is called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). People with ESRD must undergo dialysis or transplantation to stay alive.
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Resources

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

National Kidney Foundation

Kidney Disease Caregivers Community

American Association of Kidney Patients


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