Employees Learn About Kidney Health

When people talk about kidneys they usually associate them with beef and kidney pie. But have you given any thought to your kidneys lately?

In September, Domtar House colleagues did. As part of the health screening program, more than 160 employees were tested for high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, all of which affect kidney health. The tests were followed by a presentation by a kidney specialist, Dr. François Madore of Sacré Coeur Hospital.

Dr. Madore gave an overview of how kidneys function, the risk factors for kidney disease and how to recognize some of the symptoms.

Most people have little understanding of the kidneys’ important role in good health. In very simple terms, kidneys are filters, cleaning blood the way a pool filter cleans water. Early kidney disease may not cause any noticeable symptoms. When the kidneys start to show signs of damage, a person may notice swelling of ankles, weight gain, hypertension, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or anemia. At this point, the disease may be well advanced.

The good news Dr. Madore shared is that there are easy ways of testing the condition of our kidneys. A simple blood and urine test will quickly reveal any issues.

Who should get checked for kidney disease? People who have family members with kidney problems; people with Aboriginal ancestry; and people with diabetes, hypertension, coronary diseases, cardiac insufficiency, or unexplained anemia should consult a doctor.

Even if these do not apply, you should ask your doctor for a test when you have a check-up, because kidney disease symptoms often don’t appear until the condition is advanced. Treatment for kidney failure may include dialysis and, eventually, a kidney transplant.

For more information about kidney disease, please consult the following sites:

US: www.kidney.org

Canada: www.kidney.ca