March Is National Kidney Health Month

Written by admin   // March 8, 2012   // 0 Comments

by Patricia O’Flynn Pattillo

We are a couple of months out from our New Year Resolution now…..and if you’re like me…again I have failed to adhere to the diet I began. I ‘ve fallen short of the exercise I began, so religiously, January l, 2012. Yet, I know I must forgive myself and began again.

The season of Lent affords another opportunity to again scale back, refrain from those food-types that lure me back into diet-failure. Giving up dreaded addictive foods is a sacrifice for Lent, but in truth it is the acknowledgement that dieting, sacrifice, changing habits that are counterproductive to good physical health and good spiritual health, are an on-going battle.

March is National Kidney Month. There are many months isolated for health awareness, like last month was National Heart Month, remember we all wore red to remind us that heart disease kills more women than breast cancer or lung cancer. Yet, we seldom get extensive information about the statistics of women’s health and the importance of understanding the heart and the signs of a heart attack, which often differ from the symptoms that men experience.

National Kidney Month is equally underplayed, particularly within the Black community. Yet African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately affected by kidney disease. We outnumber our Caucasian sisters and brothers in the need for dialysis, kidney transplants, the resultant surgeries associated with gangrene, the removal of limbs, and the resultant demand for prosthesis, rehabilitation, and the loss of income.

Weight loss, and weight control, is directly associated with lower blood pressure and the elimination of diabetes, which are major contributing factors in kidney disease. High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney failure. This disease is a slow-developing one where kidney function, or dysfunction, mimic flu-like symptoms, fatigue, stress and a sundry of other illnesses. When diagnosed, often after symptoms like lack of strength, appetite, energy, interest, or inability to do normal activities that have been done for years, the kidney-efficiency percentages often dictate the seriousness of kidney disease. Dependent upon that number, the quality of life is frequently affected.

Reduction of salt,(sodium), fat, processed sugars; not smoking, limited drinking and increasing good calories while reducing the amount of food eaten; increasing exercise, sleeping, rest periods and productive activities appear to be the panacea for reducing the risks for high cholesterol, increased blood pressures, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease.

For advice on how to stay healthy and schedule a free kidney screening, not just in the month of March, visit the National Kidney Foundation web-site for more information.

* To good health: part of the MCJ focus: “Putting Neighbor back in the Hood”*

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