National Kidney Foundation Urges Athletes to Check Kidney Function Regularly

New York, NY
October 18, 2000

In response to conflicting reports over whether NBA star Alonzo Mourning's kidney disease was caused by regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs, the National Kidney Foundation says there is no established link between chronic use of analgesics and focal glomerulosclerosis, Mourning's condition.

Focal glomerulosclerosis is characterized by scarring of the glomeruli, or main filtering units, which are situated on the outer part of the kidney. When this scarring occurs, kidney function deteriorates and protein leaks into the urine. Analgesic-related kidney damage results in a distinct condition called interstitial nephritis, an inflammation of the inner part of the kidney that can lead to loss of kidney function.

For athletes such as Shaquille O'Neal, who expressed concern about regularly ingesting anti-inflammatory drugs, the National Kidney Foundation recommends periodic monitoring of kidney function. Those who are taking daily doses of analgesics should keep track of the drugs they are taking and get tested every six months. Testing of kidney function is inexpensive and reliable and can be done with simple blood and urine tests.

A warning sign of possible kidney damage is urine that is tea or cola-colored, bloody or unusually foamy.

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of those affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. For more information on kidney disease call the foundation at (800)622-9010.