National Kidney Month
Kidneys are the workhorses of the urinary tract, filtering waste from the bloodstream and keeping your body moving. These bean-shaped organs keep the composition, or makeup, of blood stable, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Think of them as regulating filters for your body. When these filters go bad, your body suffers. The most prominent risk comes in the form of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
CKD affects nearly 30 million Americans, making it more common than diabetes. If you have CKD, that means your kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood properly. As a result, waste builds up in your body, which can lead to numerous health complications. Conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease all increase your risk for CKD, according to NIDDK. The most alarming part of CKD is that there are no signs or symptoms until the disease is very advanced. The only way to check for CKD is through blood and urine tests.
Talk to your doctor about getting a blood and urine test for CKD. Your doctor will be able to assess your health status and will tell you if a test is necessary based on your lifestyle and current conditions.
American Heart Month
Everyone knows how important the heart is to the body’s overall health. What some people don’t know is how factors like poor diet and limited exercise can lead to serious heart conditions, putting your whole body at risk. Diet and exercise are the best ways to reduce your risk for heart complications. Some of these complications include cardiac arrest, heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and high cholesterol.
Cardiac arrest, heart attacks and strokes are some of the most serious heart conditions and their symptoms should be monitored closely. You should call 911 if you or someone you know starts experiencing the following signs:
- Chest discomfort lasting more than a few minutes
- Arm weakness or numbness
- Slurred speech
- Unresponsiveness when tapping on shoulders
For more information about heart health and early warning signs, visit heart.org.
Thyroid Awareness Month
The thyroid is a small gland in the neck, but it influences your body’s most important organs, including the heart, brain and skin. In fact, the hormone created by the thyroid controls virtually every cell and tissue in the body. Thyroid disease results in too much or too little of the gland’s critical hormone being produced, causing your body’s systems to speed up or slow down. A dysfunctional thyroid can spur a variety of complications, like heart disease, osteoporosis and infertility.
If you have a family history of thyroid complications or if you are undergoing radiation therapy to the neck region, consider speaking to your doctor about a thyroid evaluation. A number of drugs exist to help treat thyroid disease, so identifying issues early can prevent more severe conditions later in life. Visit thyroidawareness.com for more information.