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.
If you look at Leslie Albe Field, you wouldn't think she suffers from a disease often called a silent killer. But she was only 18 years old when a routine visit to the doctor indicated she had off-the-chart high blood pressure that eventually landed her in the ER.
"I assumed that it was only stress and couldn't possibly be anything more," she said. "Even the ER doctor took a look at me and said he was sure nothing was wrong. Imagine the shock when the blood tests showed I had stage 4 chronic kidney disease -- I was dangerously close to needing dialysis or a kidney transplant."
Kidney disease often goes undetected because symptoms may not appear until the kidneys are actually failing. One in three American adults is at risk due to high blood pressure and/or diabetes, two of the leading causes. The good news is that early detection and proper treatment can slow the progress of kidney disease.
By following a careful diet and partnering with her clinicians to manage her high blood pressure, Leslie has been able to prevent further kidney damage. "It's been 10 years and most people in my position would have already been on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant," Leslie said. "Changing my diet and exercise habits and following a more active lifestyle enabled me to find a new passion - one that has both helped my health and ultimately turned into a career," continues Leslie.
About two years ago, Leslie became a group fitness instructor, teaching several fitness classes a week, ranging from Zumba to indoor cycling. Leslie makes sure to be physically active every single day, whether teaching a fitness class or just taking a walk.
"Every day I try to remind myself to share with the world that I am a walking example of how taking charge of your health combined with fitness activities and a positive attitude can affect your medical prognosis in the best possible way," she said.
Last year Leslie participated in the Los Angeles Kidney Walk to spread the message that a healthy lifestyle can help those who have kidney disease and those at risk. Kidney Walks are held throughout the country. For more information, visit www.kidneywalk.org.