LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It's estimated that up to 15 percent of Americans have kidney failure but most do not even know it because the clues come so late in the disease.
Dr. Sharma Prabhakar is a Nephrologist and Texas Tech Physician. He says symptoms appear very late and very general at first like weakness and lethargy. But as the disease progresses, it can include swelling, pallor, shortness of breath and eventually nausea and vomiting. Dr. Prabhakar suggests asking your family physician to check your kidney function since that is as easy as a blood and urine test to see if your kidney is functioning well.
When a patient is in kidney failure, dialysis or transplantation are usually the only options, although dialysis comes with many options of its own.
A transplant appears to be the best option for most people.
But now as the rate of patients with kidney failure is increasing at a rapid pace and more are in need of transplantation, Dr. Prabhakar says another problem is growing. He says, "Right now, with the shortage of kidneys, there are 100,000 patients listed on kidney transplant lists but only 15 thousand get kidneys. We need kidney donors." He says he wants people to understand that there is very little risk to the donor in this procedure.
World Kidney Day is celebrated in March, but Dr. Prabhakar says it is an all year effort to remind people that kidney donors can still live a normal life... by giving up one kidney to save someone else.