March is National Kidney Month

The awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease is the 100% focus of the National Kidney Foundation.

To begin with, do you know where your kidneys are located and how they function?

Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on either side of your spine. They are roughly about the size of your fist. Because they need to make room for the liver, the left kidney is a little larger and higher than right kidney. They are protected by your lower ribs.

Your kidneys have many functions: they remove excess fluid, filter your blood, balance fluid in your body, produce renin to control blood pressure, produce erythropoietin to make red blood cells, activate vitamin D, and adjust levels of minerals and chemicals to keep the body working properly.

The more you know these functions, the less you’ll need to ask, “What is kidney disease?”
There are 5 stages of kidney disease.  They range from nearly normal kidney function (stage 1) to kidney failure requiring dialysis or kidney transplant (stage 5).

CKD or Chronic Kidney Disease affects one in 10 adults age 20 or older in the USA. Many people are at risk, and some of the risk factors are:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardio vascular disease
  • Family history of kidney disease
  • Minority groups (African American, Asian American, Hispanic Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans)
  • Age 55 or older

Diet plays a huge role in kidney disease. For example, patients should be put on a low-phosphorus diet which includes foods like rice milk, regular and low-fat cream cheese, refined grains and lean meat or fish, to name a few choices. Patients also need to be on a low-potassium diet which includes foods such as apples, grapes, strawberries, cauliflower, green beans, bagels etc. As far as protein goes, it is important to figure out how much protein is in the food you are eating.

Loss of appetite is a common symptom. Therefore, you must be certain that you are getting good nutrition.

Da Vita, one of the largest kidney-care companies in the United States, has published a cook book for kidney disease.  One of the popular recipes is:

Cauliflower Rice
1 small head cauliflower
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt-free herb seasoning blend

1. Wash cauliflower and cut florets from stem.
2. Pulse cauliflower pieces in food processor until it has a grain-like consistency.
3. Warm butter in a saucepan and add spices.
4. Add the cauliflower rice and cook over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes.
5. “Fluff” with a fork and serve.

Enjoy the recipe and keep your kidneys healthy.  For more information on living with kidney disease, call the Kabb Law Firm 216-991-KABB (5222).