(StatePoint) Think you have the facts about kidney disease? Here are five common misconceptions debunked.
Myth 1. Kidney disease is rare.
Twenty-six million American adults have kidney disease and most don’t know it, according to the National Kidney Foundation. The problem? Kidney disease can be fatal, killing more people each year than breast and prostate cancer combined, and common health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure are leading causes. Race, age and a family history all can increase one’s risk for developing chronic kidney disease.
There are typically no visible symptoms until kidney disease advances to a late stage or until kidneys fail. Talk to your doctor if you think you might be at risk and ask for a simple blood test screening at your next physical.
Myth 2. Kidney failure can be cured.
If kidney disease progresses to kidney failure, the only treatment options to stay alive are dialysis for life or a kidney transplant.
Myth 3. Dialysis requires traveling to a clinic for treatment three times a week.
Because only one out of five dialysis centers offer portable hemodialysis, most patients visit a clinic without knowing they can be treated at home, while traveling or even while sleeping. Portable home hemodialysis (HHD) with the NxStage System One is associated with lifestyle benefits. Only two percent of patients are on HHD despite the fact that nine out of 10 doctors would choose home dialysis for themselves.
Myth 4. Not many people are waiting for kidney transplants.
Twelve people die each day while waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant and every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list, according to government statistics found on optn.transplant.hrsa.gov. Currently there are more than 100,000 recipients waiting for a kidney transplant yet only approximately 18,000 recipients receive a transplant annually
Myth 5. There haven’t been any major developments in dialysis technology in the last 10 years.
Groundbreaking portable at-home hemodialysis has been available for over 10 years giving patients a treatment option that can be tailored to fit both their clinical and lifestyle needs. Patients can also perform hemodialysis overnight while they are sleeping; this is known as home nocturnal hemodialysis.