The South is on Top When It Comes to Kidney Failure

Filed under: Community |

In the United States, more than a half a million adults with kidney failure rely on dialysis to keep them alive. According to recent reports, lifestyle and geography may have something to do with it.

Ten southern states make the top 10 list of having the most dialysis patients per state population: Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Virginia.

IMG_7159_660“More than 8 percent of the population in each of these states also has diagnosed diabetes, the leading cause of kidney disease,” said Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health & Human Services. “These states have high rates of obesity and physical inactivity. Multiple chronic diseases are highly prevalent in this geographic area, also known as the ‘stroke belt.’ Yet healthy diet combined with physical activity to maintain a healthy body weight could change the levels of kidney failure.”

During National Kidney Month in March and in honor of World Kidney Day, March 14, the National Kidney Foundation offers five simple kidney disease prevention tips, regardless of where you reside:

  1. Sit less and stand more. Recent research has linked sitting for eight hours or more a day with developing kidney disease.
  2. Exercise and lose weight. Diabetes is responsible for 44 percent of all new cases of kidney failure. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are on the rise and can often be treated and reversed with physical activity and weight loss.
  3. Manage high blood pressure. Both considered silent killers, many people don’t realize that high blood pressure and kidney disease are inextricably linked. Controlling blood pressure levels can prevent kidney damage and failure.
  4. Avoid long term use of kidney-toxic drugs such as over the counter (OTC) pain medications, NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen with brand names such as Motrin, Advil, and Nuprin.
  5. Get tested! Ask your healthcare provider for an annual urine test to check for protein in the urine, one of the earliest signs of kidney disease, and a blood test for creatinine to calculate your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). GFR tells how well your kidneys are working to remove wastes from your blood.

Early identification of kidney disease can slow its progression and may prevent kidney failure, so the Dallas County Health Department and National Kidney Foundation have partnered to provide a free kidney screening to Dallas County residents.

The screening is on Thursday, March 14, 2013 for the World Kidney Day Risk Assessment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dallas County Health and Human Services, 2377 N. Stemmons Frwy, Suite 627, Dallas, TX 75207.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the leading organization in the United States dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families and tens of millions of Americans at risk. For more information about kidney disease prevention visit

About The Kidneys:

The kidneys are two, fist-sized organs in your lower back. They maintain overall health through the following functions:

  • Filtering waste out of 200 liters of blood each day.
  • Regulating of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content.
  • Removing of drugs from the body.
  • Balancing the body’s fluids.
  • Releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure.
  • Producing an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones.
  • Controlling the production of red blood cells.

Quick Facts on Kidney Disease:

  • Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the country.
  • More than 26 million Americans have kidney disease, and most don’t know it.
  • There are over 95,000 people waiting for kidney transplants.
  • More than 590,000 people have kidney failure in the US today.