Kidney Disease

By: Jessica Aspiras
By: Jessica Aspiras

With the rising number of overweight Americans comes a rising number of hypertension and diabetes, the leading causes of kidney disease. According to the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, 20 to 30 percent of diabetes cases will result in kidney disease. And nephrologist Dr. Rohit Pankhaniya, of Sparrow Hospital, says there's a total of 20 million affected in the U.S.

"There are only 300,000 people on dialysis. So if you look at the percentage of dialysis patients, what happened to the people in between? They died."

It's often called a stealthy killer because there aren't any symptoms until it's too late. That's why doctors want patients to be on the look-out, especially if they are obese or have high blood pressure. Although kidney damage cannot be reversed, it can be slowed down through dialysis. The treatment is usually performed at least three times a week for several hours.

"We have patients on dialysis for 20 years. It's not a death sentence. The major thing is it changes your lifestyle."

And it's a change in lifestyle for close to 800,000 people in Michigan. Currently there are 144 dialysis units in state. But the hope is that the need changes.

"Bottom line is a healthy lifestyle. If we can change our lifestyles we can make this disease go down substantially."

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