How Will They Know?

Let’s start this month with a guest blog by American Medical Alert IDs. Why? Although I am not endorsing this particular brand, because I clearly remember being give Sulphur drugs in the Emergency Room when I was by myself and unable to let the medical staff there know I have Chronic Kidney Disease. Why? Because I remember that my husband fell when I was out of town. His grown children took him to the emergency room but didn’t know about his latex allergy and he was in no condition to explain.

 

Everything You Need To Know About Medical Alert IDs for Chronic Kidney Disease


Are you debating on getting a medical alert ID for chronic kidney disease? It’s time to take the confusion out of choosing and engraving a medical ID. This post will show you everything you need to know so you can enjoy the benefits of wearing one.

Why Kidney Patients Should Wear a Medical Alert ID

A medical ID serves as an effective tool to alert emergency staff of a patient’s special care needs, even when a person can’t speak for themselves. When every second counts, wearing a medical ID can help protect the kidney and safeguard its remaining function.

In emergencies, anyone diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or kidney failure may require special medical attention and monitoring. It is important that patients are able to communicate and identify their medical condition at all times. This includes individuals who are:

  • Undergoing in-center hemodialysis
  • Undergoing home hemodialysis
  • On Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)
  • On Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD)
  • Transplant recipients
  • Diagnosed with diabetes

Delays in getting the proper treatment needed for chronic kidney disease may lead to the following complications:

  • Fatal levels of potassium or hyperkalemia. This condition can lead to dangerous, and possibly deadly, changes in the heart rhythm.
  • Increased risk of peritonitis or inflammation of the membranes of the abdominal wall and organs. Peritonitis is a life-threatening emergency that needs prompt medical treatment.
  • Anemia or decreased supply in red blood cells. Anemia can make a patient tired, weak, and short of breath.
  • Heart disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke
  • High blood pressure which can cause further damage to the kidneys and negatively impact blood vessels, heart, and other organs in the body.
  • Fluid buildup in the body that can cause problems with the heart and lungs.

According to Medscape, the most common cause of sudden death in patients with ESRD is hyperkalemia, which often follows missed dialysis or dietary indiscretion. The most common cause of death overall in the dialysis population is cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular mortality is 10-20 times higher in dialysis patients than in the general population.

Kidney Patients Who Wear a Medical ID Have 62% Lower Risk of Renal Failure

In a study of 350 patients, primarily in CKD stages 2 through 5, those who wore a medical ID bracelet or necklace had a 62% lower risk of developing kidney failure, based on eGFR. Wearing a medical-alert bracelet or necklace was associated with a lower risk of developing kidney failure compared with usual care.

Wearing a medical ID can serve as a reminder to look after your health and make the right choices such as taking medication on time and sticking to proper diet.

6 Things to Engrave on Kidney Disease Medical ID

A custom engraved medical alert jewelry can hold precise information that is specific to the wearer’s health condition. Here are some of the most important items to put on a chronic kidney disease or kidney failure medical ID:

  • Name
  • Medical information – including if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Stage of CKD or kidney function
  • Transplant information
  • Current list of medicines
  • Contact person

Some patients have a long list of medications that may not fit on the engraved part of an ID. An emergency wallet card is recommended to use for listing down your medicines and other information or medical history.

 

Click here to enlarge chronic kidney disease infographic

Do you wear or carry a form of medical identification with you? Please share your experience or tips with us by posting a comment.

Ready for a new topic? All right then. Ever have a problem drinking your coffee? I know I have… until I followed these tips from the Cleveland Clinic at https://health.clevelandclinic.org/coffee-giving-you-tummy-trouble-try-these-low-acid-options/:

Here’s hoping that next cup of coffee treats you well.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

 

A Cautionary Tale 

Memorial DayToday is Memorial Day here in the U.S. It’s a celebration of our fallen warriors, the ones who fought for us so we wouldn’t have to fight for ourselves… and it began as a celebration of freed slaves honoring those who fought for their freedom way back in 1865. As Time.com at http://time.com/3894406/who-invented-memorial-day/ phrases it:

On May 1, 1865, freed slaves gathered in Charleston, South Carolina to commemorate the death of Union soldiers and the end of the American Civil War. Three years later, General John Logan issued a special order that May 30, 1868 be observed as Decoration Day, the first Memorial Day.

I married a retired military man. Memorial Day has had more meaning for me in the last eight years than ever before in my life.  It’s been a revelation, as our wedding invitation stated:

The Retired Lieutenant Colonel

Paul Arthur Garwood

and

The Former Wannabe Hippie4wedding

Gail Rae

Invite you to our wedding reception

Thank you again to all those who gave their lives so I wouldn’t have to.

Being a bit dramatic here, I also sort of saved my own life last week by saving my kidneys from further damage.  I know, I know. There’s no comparison, but it sure is a good way to get into today’s topic.

I wrote about dreaming about my bladder last week.  Well, I decided I needed to take that dream a bit more seriously. Off I went to my local pharmacy for an over the counter (OTC) urinary tract infection (UTI) kit.

I chose the Azo Brand because it is

the same urinary tract infection test used in many doctor’s offices, to determine if the bacteria that cause a UTI are present. {The description continues.} Then call your doctor with the results. The most reliable, over-the-counter UTI home test available, AZO Test Strips offer two UTI tests in one – including both Leukocyte (white blood cells) and Nitrite tests – which makes them more reliable than nitrite-only tests. (Doctors look for Leukocytes as well as Nitrites in diagnosing UTIs.)

test-strips-right_3Leukocytes are higher when you are fighting an infection. Unfortunately, that’s any infection. So what about nitrites?

When the urinary tract is infected by harmful bacteria then it leads to the development of nitrites as a byproduct. The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and for the elimination of unwanted waste materials from the body. However, they are incapable of filtering out the nitrites. The nitrites can however travel from the kidneys into the bladder and get stored there. They are then passed out along with the urine. Therefore the presence of nitrites in urine is generally an indication of the presence of a urinary tract infection.

Thank you for that information, Diseases List at http://diseaseslist.org/nitrites-in-urine/  Notice our kidneys are NOT at fault for once.

So far, so good.  I mean bad.  You take the test by urinating on a dipstick.  First you urinate for a second or two, then hold the dipstick under the urine stream, and then sort of mop up the excess urine.  Pay attention when you do this or it can get messy.

There were three test strips with accompanying color charts in the box.  I took all three. (Did I ever tell you about a family member who took the same OTC pregnancy test a dozen times just to be sure?  This doubt must run in the family.) You guessed it. All three were not just positive for UTI, but highly positive.

As you know, doctors don’t prescribe medication over the phone so I tried to make an appointment with my primary care doctor.  She is much sought after and had no openings that week, much less that day. She is part of a practice so I took an appointment with another doctor in the practice, one I had seen a time or two before under the same circumstances.

He had my chart in front of him.  I was wearing a medical alert bracelet. I told him three times I had Chronic Kidney Disease. In addition to ordering ciprofloxacin 250 mg. – which is safe for certain stages of CKD for certain periods of time at certain dosages – he ordered phenazopyridine 200 mg. for the pain. He kept talking about not being alarmed when it changed the color of my urine.

I didn’t feel like he’d heard a word I said.  I wasn’t too worried, because I always check with the pharmacist before taking any new medication.  She was alarmed, told me not to buy this medication, and that she would be contacting this doctor to tell him prescribing phenazopyridine for anyone with CKD was inappropriate.  This is the second time this has happened since I was diagnosed with CKD.

The National Institutes of Health warn that you tell your doctor if you’ve had kidney problems should he/she prescribe this drug.  I did… a NIHminimum of three times. This is what Drugs.com at http://www.drugs.com/mtm/phenazopyridine.html had to say about this pain reliever.

What is the most important information I should know about phenazopyridine?

You should not use phenazopyridine if you have kidney disease.

Okay, beating a dead horse here (I’m just so damned annoyed!), so let’s see if we can figure out why CKD patients should not be using this drug. Uh-oh, MedicineNet at http://www.medicinenet.com/phenazopyridine-oral/article.htm tells us

Although the exact mechanism of action is unknown, phenazopyridine is thought to provide relief of symptoms of UTIs by acting as a local anesthetic on the lining of the urinary tract.

All right, let’s try this another way then.  Why shouldn’t CKD patients take this drug? After looking at Wikipedia – even taking into account that anyone can edit these entries – I’m wondering why anyone would take it at all. It’s a form of Azo dye.

Less frequently it can cause a pigment change in the skin or eyes, to a noticeable yellowish color. This is due to a depressed excretion via the kidneys causing a buildup of the drug in the skin, and normally indicates a need to discontinue usage.

kidney functionWhat! Exits via the kidneys? Excretion can be depressed?  Nope, not for me, not for you either. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenazopyridine

Here’s the caution: sure we trust our doctors and those doctors they trust, but check with your pharmacist, too.

Hey, where are the weirdest places to read my CKD books entries?  We got some really weird ones, but we want to see yours.  The contest runs until the end of the month.  That’s plenty of time to snap a picture and post it. Not on FB?  Include it as a comment on the blog or email it.  You can even post it on Twitter.Digital Cover Part 2 redone - Copy

Book Cover

Until next week,

Keep living your life!DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAIL

It’s the Long Promised Sulfa Blog!

Since I mentioned sulfa drugs in a blog a few weeks ago, I’ve been asked some questions, including one wanting to know if these drugs could have caused a particular reader’s CKD.  Although I used the British spelling, I also wrote about my experience with sulfa drugs in What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease (page 90):

I knew I wasn’t feeling well at all, so I called my primary care physician for an appointment.  Her medical assistant  [M.A.] told me my doctor was out of town for a Book Coverweek and to go to the urgent care center near my home since, as a CKD patient, I should not wait.  When I told the receptionist at the urgent care center that I had CKD, she sent me to the emergency room at the local hospital in case I needed blood tests or scans for which the urgent care center was unequipped.  The hospital did run a scan and blood tests.  This way, they were able to see if I had an infection, blockage or some imbalance that might not only make me feel sick but worsen the CKD.

I already knew I had a higher than usual white blood cell count from my previous fasting blood test for the nephrologist about a month before the emergency room visit.  He’d felt it was not significantly high enough to indicate an infection but was, rather, a function of a woman’s anatomy.  Women have shorter internal access to the bladder, as opposed to those of men.  Looked like my nephrologist might have misjudged.

However, he quickly picked up that the medication prescribed by the emergency room physicians, despite my having reiterated several times that I have CKD, was a sulfur based drug.  He quickly made a substitution, saving possible further damage to my kidneys.  The hospital insisted I only had Stage 2, so this was a safe drug for me.  I was nervous about this as soon as they became defensive about prescribing this medication.  You need to stick to your guns about being taken seriously when it comes to CKD.

All right, let’s go back to basics, first.  The Medical Dictionary at http://medicaldictionary.thefreedictionary.com/sulfa+drug defines sulfur drug as

“Any sulfur-based antibiotic, in particular sulfonamides.”

sulfaGreat. Now we just need to know what sulfonamides are.  The same dictionary tells us these are

“medicines that prevent the growth of bacteria in the body”

and that they are frequently used with urinary tract infections. Yet, there’s also a warning that people with kidney disease should be sure to warn their doctors about their kidney disease should one of these drugs be prescribed.

Well, why do you need to avoid such medications with CKD? As you already know, compromised kidneys don’t do the job they were meant to do as well as they did before we had CKD when it comes to eliminating drugs from our bodies.  The kidneys are the organs that clear this particular drug from the body, not the liver (which is another organ that can clear drugs from your body). That means the drug may build up… and cause problems.

Here’s one of those problems from MedicineNet.com at http://www.medicinenet.com/sulfonamides-oral/article.htm#what_are_the_side_effects_of_sulfonamides,

“Other rare side effects include liver damage, low white blood cell count (leucopenia), low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), and anemia. Formation of urinary crystals which may damage the kidney and may cause blood in the urine. Adequate hydration is needed to prevent the formation of urinary crystals.”

We are already prone to anemia since we’re not producing as many red blood cells as we could (another job our kidneys have). Sure, adequate hydration may prevent these crystals, but just how much is adequate.  After all, as CKD patients, we do have fluid restrictions.

As for actually causing kidney damage, yes, sulfa drugs can do that. As The National Kidney Foundation phrases it at http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneysnottowork.cfm:NKF-logo_Hori_OB

“Other things that can damage the kidneys include kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and medications or drugs.”

 An allergic reaction to sulfa drugs can also cause kidney damage.  Allergies.About.Com at http://allergies.about.com/od/medicationallergies/a/sulfa.htm reports:

“People with sulfa allergy may also develop a type of hepatitis, and kidney failure, as a result of sulfa medications.”

However, they are careful to point out that this is an uncommon reaction, occurring in less than 3% of users.

The antibiotics Bactrim and Septra are two of the most common sulfa drugs prescribed today.  Most often, they’ll be prescribed for a urinary tract or bladder infection.  What makes it harder to pinpoint which drugs are sulfa drugs is that they don’t always have ‘sul’ in their name.

That’s also what makes it so important for you to impress upon your physician that you

the medical alert plate1. do have CKD and

2. will not be taking any sulfa drugs

Wearing a medical alert bracelet might help you remember to be downright insistent that you will NOT be taking any sulfa drugs.

The emergency room doctor did try to speak with my nephrologist before prescribing the drug for me, but couldn’t get through… a situation we’re all familiar with.  He was not a specialist and made a judgment call that sulfa drugs would be all right for me.

Yet, when I finally got a response to my own calls to the nephrologist, he was horrified.  This guy was not an emotional man so this really put me into a panic, especially since CKD was so new to me and I didn’t really know the rules yet.

Some blogs just flow and some are hard to write.  This was one of the hard ones.  I spent more time trying to tease information from the internet and my source books than writing.  I gather this is neither a popular topic nor one that is usually visited.  That makes me even more hopeful that I’ve answered your questions about CKD and sulfa drugs.NYC

I left NY in 2002, but we’re going back for a visit soon.  Nima, my NY daughter, will be taking me to High Line and The Urban Museum.  Are there any other new places you think we should visit?  While I lived there, the city was our playground… but it’s been a dozen years.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

Book It!

With the holidays over and more time to think about what I’d like to write, I decided this would be a good time to update you about whatever other books are available that also concern Chronic Kidney Disease.

You know there are many out there, too many to mention here, so I eliminated any book that couldn’t be understood by a lay person (those without specific training in a certain field – in this case, medical) and renal diet books.  You can easily find those for yourself by going to Amazon.com and B&N.com. I also excluded those I found to be dubious… the spelling errors were a dead give-away that these were not professional.

I’m not going to tell you about What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease since you already know about it from this blog.  Let’s change that, I will tell you one or two things.  First, the books included in ‘Additional Resources’ (Chapter 13) won’t appear here, as good as they are.Book Cover

And – pay attention – students, be aware that both Campus Book Rentals and Chegg are attempting to rent the book to you for more than it costs to buy it.  The digital edition – when I was teaching college, my students always seemed to prefer the digital edition – is even less expensive.

Don’t forget about The KindleMatchBook program which allows you to buy the digital version at 70% discount if you’ve ever bought the print copy. Gather your classmates: pool your money so you can save. One of you buy the print edition, then the others can get the digital edition at deep discount (I have no idea why, but I love that phrase).

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, have never have claimed to be one , AND am not endorsing the following books, simply letting you know they exist. For the most part, the descriptions were written by the author. The ‘Look Inside!’ function only works if you follow the link to Amazon.com – sorry! I have been dreaming about this list, so let’s get it out of my dreams and on the blog:

510smylYevL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_Ford, Mathea A., RD (Registered Dietician) Kidney Disease: Common Labs and Medical Terminology: The Patient’s Perspective (Renal Diet HQ IQ Pre-Dialysis Living) (Volume 4)

New to kidney failure? Have no idea what your physician just said about your kidneys? Kidney disease labs and terminology can quite often be a challenge to understand and digest. Did your doctor use the “stages of kidney disease”? Did you physician refer to “eGFR”? What does all this mean for your health and future with kidney disease, lifestyle and nutrition choices. This book is the basic platform for understanding all the common labs and terminology that your doctors and nurses will use. This book with give you and your caregivers the confidence to manage your condition knowing that you have an understanding of all the ins and outs of the nephrology jargon. (Mrs. Mathea seems to have an entire series of books about CKD.)

Hunt, Walter A. Kidney Disease: A Guide for Living. 

When Hunt learned he had kidney disease, he was overwhelmed by the prospect of facing kidney failure. He had so many questions: Why are my kidneys failing? Is there anything I can do to save them? How will I know when my kidneys have failed? What will it feel like? 41nNk5SdqIL._AA160_What treatments are available for me? Is there a cure for kidney failure? The good news, as Hunt found out, is that kidney failure is highly treatable. People with the disease can lead full and productive lives, and Hunt’s readable and empathetic book will help them do just that. It discusses the latest scientific and medical findings about kidney disease, including what kidneys do; the underlying diseases that cause failure; diagnosis, treatment, and prevention; dietary factors; clinical trials; and the future direction of research on kidney failure. Kidney disease is difficult, but as Hunt’s narrative reveals, people living with it can take control of their health and their future. By understanding kidney failure — what causes it, how it may affect their lives, and what treatment options they have — people with the disease can improve their quality of life and achieve the best possible outcome.

51nUIkG8kSL._AA160_Lewis, Dr. Robert. Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease: A guide for the Non-Specialist.

This is meant for primary care physicians, but can be easily understood by the layman. I looked under the covers of this one and was delighted to see that the information we, as patients with CKD, need to know is also what our primary care physicians need to know. (I wrote this description.)

National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. Living Well With Kidney Disease.

The first edition of “Living Well With Kidney Disease” was developed and published by the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. Based on the handbook “When Your Kidneys Fail” (originally published in 1982), this new and 41jxZoYLGzL._AA160_updated edition provides detailed information specifically intended for people coping with Kidney Disease and other renal failure, as well as their friends and families. The question and answer format provides a clear and manageable guide for those seeking support and answers. Among the topics covered are the principles of kidney function, methods of treatment, transplantation, and financial resources available to patients. With all of the ramifications of kidney failure and the rise of Chronic Kidney Disease and Type 2 Diabetes, there is a growing population of people afflicted with kidney failure. Although it was written with the patient in mind, family members, friends and health care professionals will also find this handbook a valuable resource.

517GaXFXNPL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_Synder, Rich DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) What You Must Know About Kidney Disease: A Practical Guide to Using Conventional and Complementary Treatments

The book is divided into three parts. Part One provides an overview of the kidneys’ structure and function, as well as common kidney disorders. It also guides you in asking your doctor questions that will help you better understand both status and prognosis. Part Two examines kidney problems and their conventional treatments. Part Three provides an in depth look at the most effective complementary treatments, from lifestyle changes to alternative healing methods. The diagnosis of kidney disease is the first step of an unexpected journey.

*Yes, this is the same Dr. Rich Snyder who interviewed me on his radio show twice since What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease was published.

It’s always hard to find good books about CKD that non-medical personnel can understand.  I hope this four (and mine!) help you feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about your diagnosis.

Here’s a little hint about your own health.  I’m back to no sweets or desserts and, I hate to admit it, but I’m feeling better.  Don’t you just hate when that happens?sugar

Until next week (when I’ll in in Culver City for a weekend of Landmark),

Keep living your life!

So Is It A Good Thing Or Not?

I cannot begin to tell you how eager I am for the second cataract surgery.  The repaired eye sees so well that the other one seems worse than it really is.

In my big ten minutes of reading at a time while the repaired eye continues to heal, I’ve seen the same word over and over again. It isn’t a word I usually expect to see: statin.  According to Macmillandictionary.com, it means “a drug that is used to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood.”

 This class of drugs can have a different name in other countries. It preforms its miracle by inhibiting a key enzyme while encouraging the receptor binding of LDL-cholesterol (Low-density lipoprotein which causes health problems and cardiovascular disease), resulting in decreased levels of serum cholesterol (that’s cholesterol in the blood stream) and LDL-cholesterol and increased levels of HDL-cholesterol.

I don’t know about you, but I went running back to What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease to remind myself what that all means. From the glossary, I understood that dyslipidemia means abnormal levels of cholesterol, triglycerides or both. Well then, what does HDL-cholesterol do? What else? This so called good cholesterol fights LDL-cholesterol.  This is important because what we call the bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) can build up in your arties and may even block them eventually. Look at page 97 in the book for a clear diagram of just how this affects your blood pressure.

Let’s get to the articles now. One from this past June suggests that statins may cause fatigue and that women may experience this more than men. Notice the mention of vitamin D production in the article at:  http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/06/25/hlsb0626.htm

Study links statin use to fatigue

One possible reason is that reducing cholesterol levels can lead to the production of less vitamin D.

All right, I’m a woman.  I take statins. I’m fatigued, but I take vitamin D supplements.  Back to the sleep apnea exploration for me.

Then in July, only one month later, this article appeared in The New York Times:

 Women May Benefit Less From Statins

Many studies have found that statins reduce the risk for recurring cardiac problems, but not the risk for death. Now an analysis suggests that the drugs may reduce mortality significantly only in men.

You can read more about this at: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/02/women-may-benefit-less-from-statins/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Back in February of this year, The New York Times was warning us about the possible side effects of statins, albeit rare ones:

Safety Alerts Cite Cholesterol Drugs’ Side Effects

Federal health officials on Tuesday added new safety alerts to the prescribing information for statins, the cholesterol-reducing medications that are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, citing rare risks of memory loss, diabetes and muscle pain.

The entire article is located at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/health/fda-warns-of-cholesterol-drugs-side-effects.html?_r=3

Hmmm, my primary care doctor has been monitoring me for muscle pain since we met.  She has already changed my statins three times in the last five years.  As for the memory loss, who can tell?  I’m at that age, you know. Diabetes can be a problem.  You take statins to reduce your LDL cholesterol so that you don’t end up with high blood pressure, but it may cause diabetes. Which is the lesser of the two evils? Read on for help from USA Today this month to make that decision.

Benefits of cholesterol-cutting drugs outweigh diabetes risk

The benefits of taking cholesterol-lowering medications outweigh the increased risk some patients have of developing diabetes from using the drugs, a report out Thursday says.

Patients who were at higher risk for diabetes were 39% less likely to develop a cardiovascular illness on statins and 17% less likely to die. Patients who were not already at risk for diabetes and were taking statins had a 52% reduction in cardiovascular illness, and no increase in diabetes risk.

“When we focus only on the risk (of diabetes) we may be doing a disservice to our patients,” says lead author Paul Ridker of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “As it turns out for this data, the hazard of being on a statin is limited almost entirely to those well on their way to getting diabetes.”

Here’s where you can find that article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-08-09/statins-diabetes/56920686/1?csp=34news&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+UsatodaycomHealth-TopStories+%28News+-+Health+-+Top+Stories%29

Also this month, there was good news about statins:

 Statins reduce pancreatitis risk

Statins reduce the risk for pancreatitis in patients with normal or mildly elevated triglyceride levels, say the authors of a large meta-analysis.

The address?  It’s: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20120824/Statins-reduce-pancreatitis-risk.aspx

My all time favorite appeared in The New York Times as a blog in March of this year.

Do Statins Make It Tough to Exercise?

For years, physicians and scientists have been aware that statins, the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, can cause muscle aches and fatigue in some patients. What many people don’t know is that these side effects are especially pronounced in people who exercise.

Do read the rest of it at: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/do-statins-make-it-tough-to-exercise/?smid=tw-nytimeswell&seid=auto

I got this smug sense of satisfaction at a hit against exercise… until I realized I still had to exercise so I could keep my organs healthy.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Being in the midst of cataract surgeries, I could not help myself.  I had to include this month’s article from Medical News Today even though it doesn’t mention ckd. The article’s address is: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248785.php

Cataracts Risk Associated With Statins    
     
     

A new study, appearing in the August issue of Optometry and Vision Science , has found that patients might have an increased risk of developing age-related cataracts if they use cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

We know I’m older and I use cholesterol lowering statins.  But I am getting better eye sight than I ever had (I think).

Note: I may have been too quick to condemn Medical ID Fashions.  The rhodium replacement bracelet they sent when I complained the first bracelet of brass, copper and silver both tarnished and wasn’t waterproof seems to be doing well.  It’s too shiny for me, but it is waterproof and hasn’t tarnished.  I also discovered this company donates $2.00 of every purchase to one of six charities. Maybe they just didn’t receive my first and second emails.

Before I forget, the book is not only available in Europe now, but it’s on sale in India too. Amazing.

I’ve given you enough homework to last more than a week!  Uh-oh, getting back into teacher mode.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

The State of The Mind Address

Monday again… and I, for one, am so glad to see it.  It’s blog day and I’ve got a lot to say today.  I’ve been down – well, as down as my optimistic nature allows – with all the medical issues surrounding me the last few weeks. My very, very dear friend and sometimes ‘sister’ has been diagnosed with stage IV bowel cancer, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and anxiety. One of my children is being successfully treated for depression and anxiety, but has developed a pre-diabetic condition and elevated cholesterol.

So, what did I do?  What else?  I researched mental life’s effect on physical health. I found information I’d always taken for granted proven scientifically and some – like the different types of smiles – I hadn’t thought about.

In EurekAlert!’s July 30th article, I zeroed in on the following.

Poor mental health linked to reduced life expectancy

“There is a possibility that mental health problems may be associated with biological changes in the body that increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease.

In this study, approximately a quarter of people suffered from minor symptoms of anxiety and depression, however, these patients do not usually come to the attention of mental health services. The authors say that their findings could have implications for the way minor mental health problems are treated.”

Of course there’s more to the article, which you can read at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-07/wt-pmh073112.php

It made sense to me.  Another one of my children had troublesomely high cholesterol when she was agonizing over a major life decision three years ago.  She took her medication, ate the right foods and made certain she exercised and it kept right on rising.  Fast forward to a few months after she made and acted upon her decision. She faced her fear (thank you, Landmark) and returned to her doctor for a complete physical even though she had stopped taking the medication and ignored her diet. As a dancer (she IS my daughter), exercise wasn’t a problem. I’m so glad she did go back to the doctor.  There is no sign of elevated cholesterol.  Why?  I’m laying it on the fact that she’s happier now.

I tend to smile quite a bit and look for reasons to smile even when life seems hard.  I wondered if that were helping me with my own health and, if so, would it help others. Then I located this Aug. 1, Medical News Today article:

Smiling Reduces Stress And Helps The Heart

“A new study suggests that holding a smile on one’s face during periods of stress may help the heart. The study, due to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, lends support to the old adage ‘grin and bear it,’ suggesting it may also make us feel better.”

The article goes on to distinguish between the different kinds of smiling.  You can find it at:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248433.php.

I found something unexpected to be happy about this week: Medical ID Fashions.  If you remember (and even if you don’t), I’d taken them off my blog roll because I ordered one of their medical alert bracelets and when it was delivered, there was a note in the box saying it could not be submerged in water.

I have osteoarthritis and could not (oh, all right, so I just didn’t want to) spend precious minutes a day struggling to get it off and on before I hit the shower. I just wanted something pretty that I could put on and ignore. I emailed the company about not warning the consumer that it wasn’t waterproof BEFORE the bracelet was purchased and received.

I heard nothing for months on end. Then the bracelet started to tarnish and I cleaned it.  Mistake!  Seems it could not tolerate the cleaning supplies I was using because there was some kind of protective coating over the brass and copper parts of it – a coating I knew nothing about since there was no information about cleaning on the website nor was any sent with the bracelet.

Again I sent an email.  This time I got a reply in less than 24 hours with a request to call them.  When I did and explained the problem, they offered to replace the bracelet with a waterproof stainless steel one for the difference in the price of the two bracelets.  I also noticed the websites now mentions which bracelets are waterproof although nothing is included about NOT being waterproof in the other bracelets’ descriptions.  There’s also still a lack of information about how to clean the bracelets.

I have already return mailed my old, ruined bracelet (who knew trying to be neat and clean could cause such problems?) and PayPal-ed the $20.  Now I wait. So I won’t have the pretty silver-copper-brass bracelet I wanted. I’ll have a waterproof, cleanable stainless steel one instead.  It may not be stylish but it could be a life saver.

I’m starting to see sales in England!  That’s something else to make me smile.  And thanks to AKDHC’s flier campaign, I’m starting to receive telephone calls from people who want the book but don’t have or know how to use a computer. I have a bunch of books I keep in the office for those without computers.  They can also be personally inscribed, if you’d like.  Just send me an email at: myckdexperience@gmail.com.

Time to get to researching cataract surgery and ckd.  Mine are scheduled for August 14th and September 4th.

Oh, got an email from a reader whose tests showed she had NO ckd, although she’d been diagnosed at stage 3.  Being a smart one, she retook the tests.  The first set of tests had false results.  No one knows quite how that happened, but if you should find you suddenly have test results, good or bad, that are totally unexpected, please have them redone.  We all want NOT to have CKD, but need to pay attention to it if we do.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

Good, Bad or Unnecessary?

When I came home from Portland, I had this crazy desire to clean – although Bear always keeps the house in pristine condition when I’m gone.  I tried to ignore it, but that didn’t work.  So, I cleaned, right down to cleaning out the articles I keep for the blog.  Of course, being me, I had to read each one before I trashed it. Lo and behold, I started seeing a pattern with some of them.

On Halloween of last year [my brother, Paul Peck’s birthday, by the way], this article appeared.  By the end of the blog, you’ll be able to figure out if it was a trick or a treat.

FDA staff say Merck’s Vytorin helps kidney patients

(Reuters) – U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewers said Merck’s cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin was effective in reducing the rate of heart attacks or other cardiovascular problems in patients with kidney disease.

The FDA reviewers also said Merck’s blockbuster drug, which pairs a new type of cholesterol fighter Zetia with Merck’s older statin drug Zocor, is unlikely to cause or promote cancer.

But, as I read further in the article, I found that Vytorin contained the generic drug simvastatin which had already been approved to lower cholesterol.

You can read the entire article at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/31/us-fda-merck-vytorin-idUSTRE79U33Y20111031

Something nagged at me, so I went to Drugs.com to check out Vytorin.  This is what I found there:

What is Vytorin?

Vytorin contains a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin.

Vytorin is used to treat high cholesterol in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.

Ezetimibe reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.

Simvastatin is in a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or “statins.” Simvastatin reduces levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).

[Another of Vytorin’s original claims had been that it attacks both genetic and life habit causes of hyperlipidemia.  Remember those tv ads about whether what you ate or Uncle Frank’s genes caused your high cholesterol?  That’s where this claim was made.]

As I kept reading, I found two disturbing warnings:

  1. In rare cases, simvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
  2. Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Vytorin will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.

So a pill that combats high cholesterol on both fronts – genetics and life habits – still requires a life habit change [diet] but could kill CKD patients when given to them to avoid heart problems.  I was not happy.

But it gets even weirder [Did you know Portland’s city motto is “Keep Portland Weird”?] Remember that simvastatin supposedly lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol and that simvastatin is the generic drug in Vytorin.

‘Good’ cholesterol’s heart benefits challenged

Drugs to raise HDL can’t be assumed to reduce heart attack risk

CBC News

Posted: May 17, 2012 3:46 PM ET

Having naturally high levels of “good” cholesterol doesn’t lower the risk of heart attacks as believed.

LDL cholesterol is referred to as “bad” cholesterol because when there’s too much, it promotes the build-up of plaque in artery walls.

HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol because higher concentrations have been associated with lower risk of heart attacks in observational studies.

The hoped for benefits of increasing high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol for lowering heart attack risk haven’t panned out in randomized trials of experimental drugs.

According to conventional wisdom, those who inherit genetic variants for higher HDL levels should have lower cardiovascular risk. When researchers tested 116,000 people, they found 2.6 per cent of them were genetically

This article’s address is:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/05/17/cholesterol-good-hdl-heart-attacks.html?cmp=rss

So you may be taking a drug prescribed to treat your hyperlipidemia but it doesn’t matter if your good cholesterol is raised, even though that’s one of Merck’s [the manufacturer] claims.  In addition, it is possible that this drug prescribed to prevent heart problems in CKD patients may kill them. Why do I get the sinking feeling that this is business as usual for the drug industry?

On another note, several medical personnel I met in Portland brought the book into their hospital.  Thank you Kenyon Decker and Corinna Bayer for bringing the book to Portland VA Medical Center.  Mark Anderson was kind enough to bring the book to the attention of the Oregon Urology Institute, while Marc Overbeck, the director of Oregon Primary Care Office at the

Office for Oregon Health Policy & Research introduced the book there. Dr. Greg Nigh’s wife (who neglected to give me her name, unfortunately) took the book to her husband Nature Cures Clinic, LLC. Another nurse, a Reiki master and others took the book to share with their practices.  Landmark people are wonderful when it comes to doing good works!  If you were one of these unnamed people, leave a comment and I’d be more than glad to get your name in print by way of a thank you.

Unfortunately, I need to report that the medical bracelet I am so unhappy with is now thoroughly discolored – something else that was not mentioned before I bought it.  I would notify the company but am lax to do so since they didn’t respond to any of my other emails.

Also, if you’d like to leave a comment, please don’t use your work address.  WordPress classifies it as spam and even though I go through all the comments, without a working email address I am not confident that WordPress has made a mistake.  In other words, make sure there’s a working email with your comment so it doesn’t get lost in the spam folder.

Wow, this was a long one.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

Be Inspired

Wow!  Both Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day have slipped by.  I hope all of you had a wonderful time with your mother, father, chosen mother, chosen father, surrogate mother, surrogate father and/or whoever fills the role for you. I hope you had laughter, tears, hugs and kisses – or, at least, a really firm handshake for those who are not demonstrative.

Please be aware that if one of your biological parents has CKD, you are at higher risk for the disease. AND if you are the biological parent, so are your children.

That made me so angry when it was explained to me. Of course, I had no clue why I was angry – but it is said that anger is the flip side of sadness. I have children.

Hmmm, have you considered giving a copy of What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease to either your parent or your child as a late Mother’s or Father’s Day gift?  What about as a graduation gift to the aspiring medical student? Now that’s inspiration.

Wait!  I have to repeat this: Dr. Jamal Atalla is such a gentleman that he said nothing when I misspelled his name in last week’s blog.  My apologies and thank you for your kindness in not mentioning it, Jamal. I was actually meeting with Tamara Jensen from AKDHC when I realized I’d misspelled his name and stopped mid-sentence to make a mental note to mention this in the blog.

Many people choose to share a meal out to celebrate holidays.  Bear’s daughters, Lara and Kelly, and Kellly’s significant other – Sean – took us to Cracker Barrel for breakfast to celebrate.  [I noticed the bracelet part of medical alert bracelets being sold as interchangeable watch bands  at the cashier’s counter. Apparently, they are the same things.  A little too fancy for my taste, but worth checking out.] My daughters, Nima and Abby, were in New York having lunch out  with their father.

And, yes, I was able to find something on the menu that fit the renal diet I follow.  Naturally, I did get those “Are you sure?” questions from the friendly waiter when I asked there be no butter, syrup, sweetened fruit, or powdered sugar on top of my made-from-scratch French toast and just black coffee and water with lemon but no ice.  I’m used to my diet now and thoroughly enjoyed it as much as the others enjoyed their bacon, sausage, and whatever else they had. Have I inspired you to eat out safely for your CKD?

Some readers were surprised to discover that I’d seen my nutritionist not once, but twice. My nephrology center, AKDHC, includes a yearly consultation with a nutritionist.  Now that I’m older and on Medicare, I decided to see what they cover.  Surprise!  Three visits, the first year and two every year thereafter.  This is from their website. 

 

Medical Nutrition Therapy

How often is it covered?

Medicare covers medical nutrition therapy services prescribed by a doctor for people with diabetes or kidney disease. This benefit includes:

  • An initial assessment of nutrition and lifestyle assessment
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Information regarding managing lifestyle factors that affect diet
  • Follow-up visits to monitor progress managing diet

Medicare covers 3 hours of one-on-one counseling services the first year, and 2 hours each year after that. If your condition, treatment, or diagnosis changes, you may be able to get more hours of treatment with a doctor’s referral. A doctor must prescribe these services and renew their referral yearly if you need treatment into another calendar year. These services can be given by a registered dietitian or Medicare-approved nutrition professional.

This is the address at which you can find the rest of this article and others that may be of interest to you.  http://www.medicare.gov/navigation/manage-your-health/preventive-services/medical-nutrition-therapy.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1  Hopefully, this has inspired you to call your nephrologist for a visit with the practice’s nutritionist.

Let’s move from using renal nutrition therapy to stave off End Stage Renal Disease to alternatives should you reach stage 5.  What if you’re among the 20% of CKDers who aren’t able to stabilize at stage 3 and need to go on to dialysis?

This article from the University of Washington caught my eye a couple of months ago. Frankly, I had trouble believing this was even possible. It just sounded too much like science fiction. After pondering and pondering, I’m now convinced it is more science than fiction. I’d be interested to hear your opinion.

Wearable artificial kidney to be tested for safety and effectiveness in collaboration with FDA

By Leila Gray and Linda Sellers

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine and Northwest Kidney Centers

A wearable artificial kidney, designed as a new treatment for kidney failure, will be tested in Seattle. The trial will be done in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration under a new Innovations Pathway announced Monday.

The battery-powered wearable artificial kidney in its current form weighs about 10 pounds and is worn in a belt around the waist. Dr. Victor Gura, an associate clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, invented the device. His goal is to free end-stage kidney disease patients from being tethered for several hours for three or more days a week to a dialysis machine. The hope is to improve the quality of life of these patients.

Researchers will be testing a wearable device that takes over the blood-cleaning functions of the kidneys…. The Wearable Artificial Kidney is being developed by Blood Purification Technologies Inc. based in Beverly Hills, Calif..

“Quality of life issues will likely be embedded in the trial design,” Himmelfarb said. “We’ll probably be asking patients, ‘Can you move with ease? How do you feel? How does the device or the treatment affect your daily life? Can you go to work with it on or go out with your family and friends?’ We will be looking at key health outcomes as well as health economics.”

“At present, if you want to attend your cousin’s wedding in New York City, you need to check to be sure time slots are available at a center for you to get your dialysis done. You can’t just walk in,” he said. “If you live in a rural area, you probably drive a long distance every week for your dialysis sessions. A safe, effective, wearable artificial kidney would give end-stage kidney disease patients much more freedom in their lives.”

You can find the entire article at: http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/wearable-artificial-kidney-to-be-tested-for-safety-and-effectiveness-in-collaboration-with-fda

So we’ve gone from renal nutritional therapy to external artificial kidneys in just one blog.  I am so inspired to realize just how much is available to us.

Nathaniel Smalley, former East Coast Swing venue owner and now professional photographer, has initiated a Facebook page for nature and wildlife photography (https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/NaturePhotographyWildlifePhotography/permalink/321242084623998/?notif_t=like). The professionals there (I’m one of the non-professionals) called this photograph inspiring, so look at it and realize Chronic Kidney Disease is not necessarily a death sentence. 

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

Lest We Forget

Today is Memorial Day.  Until I became engaged to a retired army colonel, I never truly understood what that meant.  He’s told me.  Even with keeping the worst of it to himself, from Bear’s memories I understand… and the sacrifices of these men and women were horrific.  It is not  ‘happy’ Memorial Day; it is a somber day to remember what our countrymen and countrywomen have given for us.

A friend from my theater life, James David Porter( Arizona Curriculum Theater),  posted this on Facebook today:

“Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the 1860s, to honor the 625,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War. The first Decoration Day event was organized by freed African-American slaves in 1865 in Charleston, S.C., where a parade of 10,000, led by 3,000 black schoolchildren, took place to honor the dead around a racetrack that had been used as a burial ground.”

Once you’re over being surprised that Memorial (instituted as Decoration) Day  was orginally organized by freed slaves, pay attention to the part that  mentions it was “to honor the dead.”  Organ donations are not the only way our dead offer us life. Oh, and thank  you to Larry Jacobson, a former colleague a million years ago, for locating the picture above.

I’ve  got an exercise video for you to demonstrate that exercise CAN be fun.  We went to Nathaniel Smalley’s (he and his wife, Elizabeth had two swing dance clubs here until recently)  Feather Focus’s photography exhibit Friday night where Bill Morse was dj for some East Coast Swing Dancing.  I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to do some exercise I actually liked!  My partner is MacGyver Mann who teaches at Gmann’s in Mesa (Arizona) on Thursday nights.  I never met him before so you can appreciate what a good lead he is. It’s night, it’s outdoors and it’s dark.   But it is fun and got my heart rate up!  Can you catch the smile on my face? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHPReqcTMIU&feature=channel&list=UL. Thank you, Bear, for getting any video at all for us with your wonderful, magical phone.

Ready for some kidney news? First, do you remember my disappointment with the medical jewelry company that sent the alert bracelet with a note saying that it should not be immersed in water, as in bathing or swimming?  I don’t know about you, but I have this habit of showering every day and that includes immersing myself in water.  I also have arthritis which means taking jewelry off and then putting it back on is a nightmare – even with the arthritis helper made specifically for this purpose.  My mother loved that little device; I’m just not co-ordinated enough with my left hand to use it on a bracelet worn on my right hand since I’m right handed. We can now bypass the whole problem.  Read on:

Tattoos Replace Bracelets for Medical Alerts

By Chris  Kaiser, Cardiology Editor, MedPage Today

Published: May 25, 2012

 
 

PHILADELPHIA   —  As more people with diabetes replace their medical alert bracelets with tattooed warnings, there might be a need for a standard design and body location, a researcher here said.

“The tattoo has to be easily recognizable to first responders,” Saleh Aldasouqi, MD, from the Sparrow Diabetes Center of Michigan State University in East Lansing, said during a press conference.

“It may be that we need guidelines for medical alert tattoos for both patients and tattoo artists,” Aldasouqi said. “Should tattoos be prescriptive? I don’t know. We’re at the beginning of this dialogue and I think it’s an important one.”

Medical alert tattoos for diabetes are a relatively new phenomenon and Aldasouqi admitted he has no hard data on the number of people who choose ink over metal to alert first responders in case of an emergency.

He initially became aware of medical tattoos about 3 years ago when a patient showed up with one. His search of the literature, however, produced only two case reports. But a search on the Internet revealed ample evidence that the practice is alive and well.

“You can find groups of people discussing their medical tattoos,” he said.

Rick Lopez, who works at Hard Ink Tattoo in Philadelphia, told MedPage Today that he recently inked a diabetes alert on a young man.

“He brought the bracelet into the shop and I just copied it onto his wrist,” Lopez said.

He said he has tattooed a lot of “cancer ribbons” on customers, generally family members of those with cancer who want to show support, but also on cancer survivors as well. And he has inked the autism puzzle ribbon. But only one medical alert.

Aldasouqi and colleagues reported a case presentation here of a 32-year-old women with type 1 diabetes who decided to shed the alert jewelry for a permanent ink reminder on her wrist.

She said she was frustrated with the numerous broken necklaces and bracelets throughout her life, and the ensuing costs of them.

Last year in the American Family Physician journal, Aldasouqi published another case report of a man who tattooed his diabetic condition onto his wrist.

As the practice of medical tattoos grows, he wants to ensure it’s headed in the right direction. Paramedics have to be educated about these tattoos so they recognize them during an emergency. There perhaps should be some standardization in design and location, such as the wrist, so it’s easier to identify the tattoo as an alert, he said.

He cited a case where a man had the letters “DNR” inked on his chest. During an emergency, first responders thought the tattoo might be a directive for “do not resuscitate.” As it turned out, the man had lost a bet in his youth, which resulted in those letters emblazoned on his chest.

Aldasouqi has recently teamed up with a colleague from the University of Helsinki to produce peer-reviewed studies on the phenomenon and to begin a registry of patients with medical tattoos.

You can read the article in its orginal form at: http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AACE/32916.

One of my step-daughers, Kelly Garwood, is gloriously tatooed (or is called inked?).  Here’s hoping she never needs to add a medical tatoo to the collection of art on her body.

Before I sign off, a little reminder that while I’m donating books as fast as I can at urgicare centers, and PCPs’, nephrologists’ and urologists’ offices, there are still plenty left for you to order a personalized one for the discount price of $8.00.  I finally figured out the price had to be less than that of the digital copy of the book or where’s the discount?

Also, myckdexperience.com is no longer a viable address, so if you’d rather order digital or print (not discounted or personalized), go through Amazon or B & N.

The nephrologist I mentioned who wanted to sell our books together is becoming disillusioned since neither online selling site is willing to do this.  I wonder if we should offer the two book set via our blogs.  What’s your opinion here?

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

Mid Week This And That

This is what I was thinking about while in Chattanooga:

1. Be wary when you order medical alert jewelry bracelets. Without mentioning the specific company in question, I received my bracelet in the mail with a note enclosed stating that I needed to take this bracelet off before showering or going into bodies of water in which it might be submersed.  What?  I have arthritis.  Taking bracelets off and putting them on is akin to torture for me – even with the device that was invented to help in just those circumstances.  Why not mention this BEFORE the item is ordered?  When I emailed them with my complaint, I received no response.  Boy, did I ever feel duped.  You will not find them on the blog roll.

2. On the other hand, the app KidneyDiet responded in a timely fashion when they were emailed.  The complaint was that new foods could not be added.  Otherwise, this is a really good app that adds calories, potassium, phosphorous, protein and sodium.  In other words, perfect except you were limited to the foods on their list.  They are now working  on a way for their users to add new foods.  Thank you, KidneyDiet.

3.  Send me an email at: myckdexperience@gmail.com to order a book at discount.  I have plenty of leftovers from the Chattanooga Renal Symposium just waiting for a new home.  They are new, in excellent condition and discounted at $10/book rather than the usual $12.95.  Email me, pay via PayPal and the book is yours.

This is fun, this midweek update.  It’s like emptying my mind without having to wait for Monday!  I look forward to your orders (oh boy, do I!).

Until Monday,

Keep living your life!

World Kidney Day Is Only Six Years Old

Each Monday, I find it progressively more difficult to choose a topic.  I am amazed at how much information is being disseminated about kidney disease and its treatment and/or underlying causes these days.  Since March 8 is the sixth World Kidney Day, I thought we would go back to the basics to start today’s blog.  Thank you, again and again and again to The National Kidney Foundation for all the information they make available to us.  This is their World Kidney Day posting:

Top 10 Reasons to Love Your Kidneys

Sometimes the more you know, the more you love.  The National Kidney Foundation urges Americans to get to know two humble, hardworking organs: the kidneys.  To help raise awareness and appreciation for all the vital functions the kidneys perform, the National Kidney Foundation offers 10 reasons for Americans to love their kidneys and take steps now to preserve kidney health:

1. Filter 200 liters of blood a day, removing two liters of toxins, wastes and water

2. Regulate the body’s water balance

3. Regulate blood pressure by controlling fluid levels and making the hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict

4. Support healthy bones and tissues by producing the active form of vitamin D

5. Produce the hormone that stimulates bone marrow to manufacture red blood cells

6. Keep blood minerals in balance

7. Keep electrolytes in balance

8. Regulate blood acid levels

9. Remove drugs from the blood

10. Retrieve essential nutrients so that the body can reabsorb them

In my book, I discuss how important it is to tell every doctor you see about your Chronic Kidney Disease.  Notice #9. “Remove drugs from the blood.”  You may need to take a lower dosage of whatever drug was prescribed or, perhaps, take it less often.  If your kidneys are not fully functioning, the drugs are not effectively being removed from your blood.  It would be similar to willfully taking a drug overdose if you do not make your doctors aware of your CKD when they prescribe for you.  Make sure your pharmacist knows about your CKD, too.  You cannot rely on your doctors – specialists or not – to remember every warning on every label.  That’s where your pharmacist comes in.  He or she has that same information.  You are ultimately the one in charge of your health.  It makes perfect sense to draw upon all your resources.

I also discuss in my book the problem in my local hospital’s emergency room when I had a bladder infection.  Just in case you don’t remember, my primary care doctor wasn’t available, so her M.A. told me to go to an Urgent Care facility rather than wait since I have CKD.  When I arrived and told the receptionist I have CKD, she immediately sent me to the hospital emergency room in case I needed blood or other tests for which the Urgent Care wasn’t equipped.  After a battery of tests in the emergency room, sulphur drugs were prescribed, although I’d took them repeatedly about having CKD.  Sulphur drugs can harm the kidneys even more.

This got me to thinking about if I were brought into the e.r. under true emergencies conditions – as in unconscious.  How would they know I had CKD before they located someone who could tell them about my medical background?  Or access my records elsewhere? I knew the answer was a medical alert bracelet, but spent quite a bit of time ignoring the issue.  Then I got sick again – a simple flu – but the bracelet idea popped back into my mind full blown, so I started searching for one.

I wanted something that looked like jewelry, but not too much like jewelry because I have simple tastes.  So, I did what I do best: researched.  This is what I came up with:

I chose the black plate and had “Chronic Kidney Disease” inscribed on two lines on the back.  Now, the bracelet itself:

It’s jewelry like, something I’m comfortable wearing and it does the job of making me feel secure should I ever have a true emergency.  I’ll be adding  http://www.medicalidfashions.com/ to the blog roll later on.  They are one of several sites with the type of medical alert i.d. bracelet I’ve been discussing.  Feel free to click through now or wait for the address to be added to the blog roll.  You know, don’t you, that I have nothing to do with any of the companies I mention to you except that I want to share what I’ve found.

Ah, talking about sharing!  I found this review of the book on Amazon and walked on air for the rest of the day!

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Info on Kidney Disease around!, February 20, 2012
This review is from: What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease (Kindle Edition)

This is an incredibly well-researched, well-written book written by a woman who herself developed kidney disease. Her book provides clear and comprehensive information for all about the care patients need to have, and responds to the fears and concerns of all involved with coping with kidney disease. It is an honest, very personal accounting of her experience, and I found it to be written clearly, providing tons of pertinent information about every facet of how to cope with this illness. I think Ms. Rae wrote this book for the ordinary person who learns that they will be living with kidney disease from the moment of diagnosis, on. But after reading, I believe that it is also a book that every family member, every friend of someone who has developed kidney disease ought to read as well, in order to better understand what their loved ones are going through. I also believe that this book will benefit every professional in the medical community who deals with patients coping with Kidney Disease. It has helped me, and will help everyone involved with the patient on any level to be better able to understand their patient’s concerns, anxieties, needs and limitations. For these reasons I think it is a great guide for the medical community as well as for the patient/family/friends, as it can help professionals understand the kind of information their patients need to have in order to take good care of themselves. Don’t pass this book up!

Got to go check out a symposium that sent me an invitation to exhibit.  This is a new one for me.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!