March is National Kidney Disease Month.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidneys filter 200 liters of blood a day, help regulate blood pressure and direct red blood cell production. But they are also prone to disease; 1 in 3 Americans is at risk for kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure. There are more than 30 million Americans who already have kidney disease, and most don’t know it because there are often no symptoms until the disease has progressed.
Now, before this blog goes any further, we thought it would be good to have one of our employees from our Northwest Family Dental Clinic tell you her story as her son, Rowan, is currently fighting Kidney Disease. Here is Rowan’s story:
Rowan (the son of Alexis Wiedmaier, DA NWFD) will be turning 2 years old in March. He was diagnosed with PUV (posterior urethra valve) at 17 weeks in utero, causing a blockage resulting in being born with stage 5 renal failure at 32 weeks. Rowan has a twin sister Ruby who was born with a low birth weight of 4lbs but is healthy and has had no issues. Rowan has CKD (chronic kidney disease) and does 10 hours of peritoneal dialysis daily, until he will receive a kidney transplant. A kidney transplant will only be a temporary treatment throughout his life. Rowan will be expected to undergo multiple transplants, being put back on dialysis during each wait-time, as the old transplant would be failing. More than 661,00 Americans have some stage of kidney failure and of these, 468,000 are on dialysis awaiting a kidney transplant. About 193,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant. Only 1 in 65,000 children in the US have kidney failure. Although some babies are born with some stage of, kidney failure, it is very rare for children to be born with advanced end stage 5 renal failure. Low kidney function causes a cascade of other issues in babies. Rowan uses a feeding tube to get most of his nutrition and has been diagnosed with Hypotonia (low muscle tone). He does PT and OT weekly to build up strength to be able to walk one day. Children of any age can receive an adult kidney, as long as the kidney fits in their body. Children are usually about 2 years old by the time the child is the right weight and length, the new kidney is typically placed in the lower right side of the stomach area. In small children the kidney is placed in the middle of the stomach. Alexis is a match for Rowans kidney transplant and he will be eligible to undergo a transplant after April. Rowan will also be on the deceased donor list as well. If the transplant goes as planned and takes well Rowan will be in the Children’s Mercy ICU for one well post transplant, then moved to recovery for another 2-3 weeks before being able to return home. Of all the people waiting for an organ transplant, 80% are waiting for a kidney followed by a liver, heart, lung, pancreas, and intestine. In 2017 there were 10,200 deceased kidney donor transplants and 6,100 living donors. Almost anyone can be a living kidney donor and deceased donors can save up to 8 lives. You can show your support by wearing green ribbons during the month of March or April as green is the color for both Kidney Disease Awareness and organ donation awareness. You can also register as an organ donor or be a living donor!
Remember that 1-3 Americans are at risk for Kidney Disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or family history. It is important to get check-ups done regularly and to have a health professional guide you in managing one of these symptoms.
We would also like to say thank you to Rowan, Alexis and their family for letting us share their story. We wish them nothing but the best care for Rowan during his procedure this year.
Have a great day, and remember to wear green during the month of March to support those battling Kidney Disease!
Corey Myers is the Digital Marketing Manager at Northwest Health Services who works with health professionals daily to provide important health related information.