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According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 20 million people are currently living with kidney disease in the United States. There is another estimated 20 million adults who may be at risk for kidney disease, but are unaware of their condition.

What is kidney disease?

Kidneys are essential to a body’s well-being. Although they are small (about the size of a fist) our bodies will not survive long without them. Located in the lower back region of the body, kidneys are primarily responsible for filtering waste and extra water from your blood, which leaves the body as urine.
Most of these unwanted substances come from what we eat and drink everyday. Kidneys automatically remove the right amount of salt and other minerals from the blood, leaving the quantities the body needs. Cleansed blood then returns to the heart and re-circulates throughout the body.

Your kidneys also perform a host of other functions, including balancing chemicals in the body, releasing hormones, helping control blood pressure, producing red blood cells and producing the active form of vitamin D, which keeps the bones strong and healthy.

Kidney disease occurs when these filters are damaged over time, resulting in waste build up in the blood, harming the body. If the kidneys are not treated, it can lead to kidney failure, which means the kidneys stop working altogether. Once the kidneys have failed, the only recourse is dialysis or a kidney transplant.

There are many possible causes of kidney failure, yet for some people the cause is unknown. The most common culprit of kidney disease in South Texas is diabetes. Kidney disease can also lead to other complications such as anemia and renal bone disease and many kidney patients eventually develop heart disease.