Knowing Your Kidneys: Doctors from the Mount Sinai Health System Discuss Risk Factors and Tips to Help Prevent Kidney Disease

March is National Kidney Awareness Month

Released: 28-Feb-2014 3:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Mount Sinai Medical Center
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Newswise — (New York, February 28, 2014) -- The kidneys, two very important organs located in your back, help to continuously clean out wastes and extra fluid from your body. One in 10 Americans develops kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure. For March’s Kidney Awareness month, doctors from the Mount Sinai Health System discuss risk factors associated with the disease and offer ways to help protect your kidneys.

“These two organs help to control chemicals and fluids in the body, regulate blood pressure, maintain healthy bones, and produce red blood cells,” says John Cijiang He, Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and Chief, Division of Nephrology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Risk factors include diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney disease, smoking, and viral infection. People over the age of 60 are at higher risk as well as people of African-American descent.

According to Ira Meisels, Chief of Nephrology at the Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospitals, “Over 20 million Americans have some degree of kidney disease and unfortunately many are not even aware of it. Early detection is important as it can lead to therapies to slow progression of kidney disease or even reverse it. “

Jeffrey Saland, Chief of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension at the Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, notes that while kidney disease is thankfully rare in children, it is important to recognize it. Whether identified before birth by prenatal sonogram, during a child’s checkup, or while evaluating symptoms like poor growth, swelling, urinary tract infections, or high blood pressure, early referral to an expert can make a big difference.

Tips to Help Protect Your Kidneys:
- Cut out salt. This will help to keep your blood pressure down. If it remains high, be sure to see a doctor as you may need medications.
- Quit smoking. Not only is smoking bad for your health, but it also reduces the blood flow to vital organs, like the kidneys. Ask your doctor if you need help quitting.
- Exercise daily. Physical activity is important and can help ward off heart disease diabetes, and obesity; all risk factors of kidney disease. Try to always maintain a healthy weight and control your glucose levels if you already have diabetes.
- Know your family history. It is important to be aware if any risk factors related to kidney disease run in your family. If so, tell your doctor and get tested.
- Get checked regularly. “The easiest way to know if you or your child have kidney disease is to have a urine test, which only takes a minute and causes no pain,” says Dr. He. Physicians use blood and urine tests to determine how well your kidneys are functioning. They can also check if you or your children have high blood pressure which is an associated risk for kidney disease.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven member hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians, 12-minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers, over 45 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. (not sure if you guys want to mention the rankings of nephrology (#44) and pediatric nephrology (#26) best hospitals / children’s hospitals?)
For more information, visit http://www.mountsinai.org, or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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