There are currently more than 93,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Every day, that number grows.
Lee Health kidney transplant nephrologist Dr. Gautham Mogilishetty says the longevity of our kidneys is decided before birth. “At 36 weeks of gestation your fate as far as the number of filtering beds in your kidney are sealed. So the average number of filtering beds, called nephrons, is limited to 1 million per individual.”
The filtering beds control how well the kidneys function, which is why doctors encourage patients to protect their kidneys as long as possible. “Out of the 1 million that you are born with, over time they are just going to be eroding. It’s just like buying a brand new set of tires and over time as you drive you shed some of the rubber, so that’s what happens,” said Dr. Mogilishetty.
The wear and tear on our kidneys naturally accelerates after age 65. “The older you get there’s a higher risk of having kidney failure,” said Dr. Mogilishetty.
Other reasons for kidney failure are trauma to the kidneys or kidney damage from things like medication. Studies show about 20 million people in the U.S. have kidney failure of different degrees.
“The other side is chronic metabolic condition, such as diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Dr. Mogilishetty. Patients can also be born with genetic predispositions if kidney failure happens at a young age.
“Routine blood work does involve testing keratin and keratin is an indirect measure of how the kidney is functioning,” said Dr. Mogilishetty.
Doctors say the best cure for kidney failure is prevention by controlling your blood pressure and diabetes, staying hydrated and avoiding medication that can cause harm to the kidneys. “One is fluids and electrolyte balance, making sure there’s enough salts and fluid in your system. Number two is diet and exercise and medications,” said Dr. Mogilishetty.
Once a patient is diagnosed with kidney failure, there’s no way to reverse it—so doctors encourage a healthy lifestyle and regular doctor visits to check your kidney functions.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.