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Emergency Department

Have You ‘Bean’ Checked for Kidney Disease

PMH wants to take additional steps to encourage community members to protect their kidneys. March is kidney awareness month, and PMH encourages everyone to learn more about protecting their ‘beans.’  The PMH Population Health and Wellness Committee has been developing a public awareness campaign to inform PMH residents about the importance of early detection and screening. You may have noticed posters around your community encouraging everyone to self-screen for kidney disease.

Here are a few facts to share:

  • The province of Manitoba has the highest incidence and prevalence of kidney failure in Canada
  • As many as 1 in 10 adults in Manitoba are living with kidney disease, and most don’t even know it
  • Kidneys can lose 80% of their function before any symptoms are felt

What is kidney disease, and why is early testing so important? Chronic kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and lose their ability to keep you healthy by filtering your blood. People living with kidney disease progressively lose kidney function, often not knowing they have the disease until advancing to the later stages. As kidney disease worsens, wastes can build up in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop other problems like high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health, or nerve damage.

Kidney disease is classified into five stages; stage 1 indicates normal kidney function up to stage 5, which is kidney failure. Because symptoms don’t always show in the early stages, identifying and managing patients with early kidney disease may slow or prevent the progression to end-stage kidney disease. Often, noninvasive treatments, such as drug therapy and lifestyle changes, may be all that’s needed if caught early.  

Anyone can get kidney disease, but some people have a higher probability because they have one or more risk factors. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common reasons for kidney disease among adults. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, having heart disease, frequent use of kidney-damaging drugs, or a family history of kidney disease. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get kidney disease, but it increases your chance and makes early screening more important. A simple blood or urine test is all that is needed to learn if your kidneys are healthy.

Talk to your healthcare provider about kidney disease. To learn more about kidney disease and to take a self-screen test to see if you are at risk, visit Don’t underestimate the importance of early testing for kidney disease. Ask yourself, have you ‘bean’ checked? 

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