Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
A Wisconsin native, Angeline Huber spends the winter in Arizona to get away from the bitter cold and relax in the sunshine. While taking a break this past October, Huber took the time to take care of her health. After living with diabetes for many years, she never had her kidney function checked even though diabetes is one of the leading causes of chronic kidney disease. She also has a brother who had been on dialysis and “didn’t want to follow in his tracks.” She wasn’t quite sure what she needed to do to preserve her kidney function.
When she heard about the National Kidney Foundation’s free screening, the Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), Huber grabbed her husband, George, and said “let’s go see what this is about. I have two of the risk factors listed ––diabetes and family history of kidney failure.”
At the screening, Huber learned that her GFR (the recommended measure for evaluating kidney function) should be 60 or above. Her GFR number was 35–– well below the normal range. Huber is extremely grateful that her kidney function was tested and that she learned about the benefit of having her GFR measured. She has already spoken to her doctor about regular monitoring of her kidney function.
In the meantime, the 75–year–old grandmother of three and great–grandmother of four, has become vigilant about controlling her diabetes. She now knows that this will help preserve her kidney function. Because kidney disease runs in families, it’s beneficial to encourage family members to get their kidney function checked, as well.
As for George, Huber says the screening benefitted him too. “He found out he’s in very good health, except his waistline is too big!” Husband and wife have now begun eating a healthier, low fat diet, and Huber is restricting her sugar as well.
As a result of KEEP, Huber has become an outspoken advocate for early detection and encourages all her friends to learn their GFR number and get their kidney function checked.