Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program

Everyone who attended our weekly incubator meeting today shared their tips on how to stay healthy. People mentioned examples such as drinking water, exercising, and getting 8 hours of sleep. But when it came to keeping Kidney function healthy some were stumped. Thankfully we welcomed students from Amherst College who are part of the KDSAP, or the Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program.

The students of the KDSAP program explained that Chronic Kidney Disease is a “silent killer”. Kidney diseases are also increasingly recognized as a public health concern because chronic kidney disease (CKD) is very costly to treat. Raising kidney awareness can help detect CKD early on and thus prevent complications of decreased kidney function, slow the progression of kidney disease, and reduce the risk of other associated diseases. In order to prevent Kidney Disease, we learned that we need to control high blood pressure and diabetes, avoid medicines like ibuprofen and other herbal medicines that hurt kidneys, drink lots of water (2L a day), avoid too much protein and sodium, and also exercising 5 times a week.

A lot of attention was also brought to how patients can be empowered when talking to doctors about kidney health. KDSAP recommended asking these three questions:

·       How is my Kidney function?

·       Ask how they know kidney function is good or bad

·       Then ask what can you do on to fix the problem or keep staying healthy

Since Chronic Kidney Disease is known as a “silent killer” some ACC participants were concerned about figuring out how to identify symptoms. There are often no symptoms until permanent damage has happened to your kidneys but when symptoms do occur, they include:

  1. Fatigue and weakness
  2. Swelling of the legs
  3. Itching
  4. Headaches
  5. Nausea and vomiting
  6. Frequent urination
  7. Painful or difficult urination
  8. Bloody urine

The KDSAP program will be hosting a kidney screening this Saturday, March 31st from 1-5 at the Unitarian Church in downtown Amherst. Some of the participants who attended the information session today were curious about how the screening process will work so the students LaMarcus, Sam, and Caroline explained the steps:

1.     Registration

2.     Questionnaire

3.     Health Education

4.     Blood Pressure

5.     BMI + Waist Circumference

6.     Urinalysis

7.     Blood Glucose

8.     Private Physician Consultation

Anyone who attends the kidney screening and completes all the steps will be awarded a bus pass for keeping kidney health in check!


By: Alexandra Shore

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