Prevent Kidney Disease
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American Indians and Alaska Natives are at greater risk for kidney disease and kidney failure than White Americans. In fact, American Indians and Alaska Natives are 50% more likely to have kidney failure compared to White Americans.
Researchers do not fully understand why American Indians and Alaska Natives are at a higher risk for kidney disease. However, American Indians and Alaska Natives are twice as likely as White Americans to have diabetes, and diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. High blood pressure, diet, obesity, and access to healthcare may also play a role.
Healthy kidneys have many important jobs. They remove waste products and extra water from your body, help make red blood cells, help keep your bones healthy and help control blood pressure. When you have kidney disease, kidney damage keeps the kidneys from doing these important jobs the way they should. Kidney damage may be due to a physical injury or a disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, or other health problems.
If you have kidney disease, you may need to take medicines, limit salt and certain foods in your diet, get regular exercise, and more.
Finding and treating your kidney disease early can help slow or even stop kidney disease from getting worse. But if your kidney disease gets worse, it can lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.
Yes. Anyone can get kidney disease at any age. But some people are more likely than others to get it, including American Indians and Alaska Natives. Your chances of getting kidney disease are greater if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of chronic kidney disease, are obese, or 60 years or older. Being American Indian or Alaska Native also means you are at greater risk. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of getting kidney disease.
American Indians and Alaska Natives have more diabetes and are more likely to be obese than other Americans. Diet and lack of exercise are key factors that cause diabetes and obesity. Having diabetes or being obese can lead to kidney disease and kidney failure. Heart disease also plays a major role among American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Hereditary may also be involved. Research shows that the Pima Indians in Arizona may be born with one or more "high risk" genes that make them more likely to have diabetic kidney disease.
American Indians and Alaska Natives may have less access to healthcare than other Americans. For example, nearly one in three American Indians and Alaska Natives are uninsured. Many American Indians and Alaska Natives do not even know they have kidney disease until it's in the latest stages. By then it is too late to slow or stop the kidney damage from getting worse. Other factors that get in the way of good healthcare are cultural differences and communication problems.
Not all American Indians and Alaska Natives will get kidney disease. And not everyone who has diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, older age, or a family history of kidney disease will get it. But if you have any of these risk factors you should:
If you would like more information, please contact us.
©2014 National Kidney Foundation. All rights reserved. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.