March is National Kidney Month. DHEC recognizes everyone living with kidney disease, healthcare professionals striving for treatment advancements and cures, and the renal dialysis facilities across South Carolina that continue to provide care to patients in need.
This year’s focus is self-sufficiency and helping people take charge of their health by educating themselves on the many factors that go into managing kidney disease.
In the past decade, the number of South Carolinians currently on dialysis and new cases has increased by 15%. Kidney-related deaths from nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis remain the 8th leading cause of death in the state. [BJ1] Many cases of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) go undetected for long periods of time and are often overlooked until moderate to severe symptoms appear. CKD is progressive and can put you at risk for serious health complications, including kidney failure.
Kidneys are vital to our health. While each is only about the size of a computer mouse, they filter all blood in your body every 30 minutes in order to remove waste, toxins, and excess fluids. They also help control blood pressure, stimulate production of red blood cells, and keep your bones healthy. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more kidney-friendly tips and related information.
Follow these healthy lifestyle tips to take charge of your kidney health:
- Meet regularly with your health care team. Staying connected with your doctor, whether in-person or using telehealth via phone or computer, can help you maintain your kidney health.
- Manage blood pressure and monitor blood glucose levels. Work with your health care team to develop a plan to meet your blood pressure goals and check your blood glucose level regularly if you have diabetes.
- Take medicine as prescribed and avoid NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen. Your pharmacist and doctor need to know about all the medicines you take.
- Aim for a healthy weight. Create a healthy meal plan and consider working with your doctor to develop a weight-loss plan that works for you.
- Reduce stress and make physical activity part of your routine. Consider healthy stress-reducing activities and get at least 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day.
- Make time for sleep. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, take steps to quit.
It may seem difficult, but small changes can go a long way to keeping your kidneys and you healthier for longer!
For those currently afflicted with CKD and are looking for assistance in finding the right treatment plan or dialysis options, DHEC’s Healthcare Quality team strongly encourages those individuals to locate renal dialysis facilities near them by using our Find A Facility application. Contact information, licensing details, and a myriad of other data are available when searching through the GIS map.
Regulation 61-97, Standards for Licensing Renal Dialysis Facilities, was updated last year and its amendments became legally effective in the summer of 2020. The changes made to the regulation have allowed patients, families, renal dialysis facility staff, and our community to benefit from the improvements specified in the regulation. DHEC encourages the public to read the regulation to learn more about state-approved dialysis management, facility licensure requirements, current provider language, and a variety of useful information regarding our state-licensed renal dialysis facilities.
[BJ1]Source, (most current data published by DHEC): https://scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/CR-011604.pdf