March is National Kidney Month! As we celebrate warming weather, new buds, and the start of spring we are taking the rest of this month to spread awareness about kidney disease and promote the importance of kidney health.
Your kidneys are responsible for functions in your body that are vital to maintaining your overall health. Most important of all is the fact that your kidneys act as a filter, removing toxins and waste from your body. The kidneys filter 200 liters of blood every day-that’s 11 thousand gallons of blood per year! If your kidneys stop working, then so do you. Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the country, and one in three Americans are at risk of having it.
This month, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is encouraging people to give their kidneys a little extra love and have them tested during a routine checkup. According to NKF, there are more than 26 million Americans who have kidney disease, most of who don’t even know it.
Kidney disease can also be prevented from simply making healthy lifestyle and dietary choices. Avoiding food with high sodium, drinking plenty of fluids, exercising, controlling stress, and avoiding smoking or over consumption of alcohol can have a substantial impact on preventing kidney disease.
With over 95,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant, it is the most needed organ on the national transplant waiting list. Being able to receive a new kidney means a second chance at life; an opportunity to be healthy again and enjoy the simple things that most take for granted.
For one Western Washington resident, receiving a kidney transplant gave him just that; a second chance at life. Andrew Holt was born with type 1 diabetes, and at the age of 33 he lost renal function and was put on dialysis. After waiting two years for a kidney transplant, Andrew finally got the call that changed his life forever.
When asked how his family’s life has changed since the transplant, Andrew said, “Since the transplant my life has been incredibly blessed. I have met a wonderful woman and together we have a beautiful daughter, a great house, and every day I am healthy. I wouldn’t be enjoying the success I’ve had without the selfless act of a stranger. To me, donation means you are giving a stranger a chance at a life they may never have experienced or enjoyed.” Because of his donor, Andrew now gets to watch his daughter grow up, a blessing that wouldn’t have been possible without organ donation.
Please consider registering your choice to be an organ donor at www.lcnw.org, and take the time to spread awareness about the importance of kidney health this month.
For more information about National Kidney Month or donation in general, please visit www.kidney.org and www.lcnw.org for more.