FRANKLIN — The kidneys keep busy balancing fluids in the body, making sure it doesn't have too much or too little salt, helping recycle parts of red blood cells so the body can make new ones, regulating blood pressure, balancing calcium and phosphorus in the blood by activating vitamin D, filtering anything unneeded. Because they have so many responsibilities, when kidneys are damaged, or kidney disease becomes chronic, health is impacted in significant and hazardous ways.

There are two main types of damage kidneys suffer, acute and chronic.

Acute kidney injury is caused by a sudden event like dehydration, major blood loss, septic shock, poisoning, or taking certain medications. People usually recover, but a 2017 study in Nephrologie & Therapeutique found that there is a strong link between having an acute kidney injury and developing chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease is irreversible damage to kidney function that occurs over time. This damage can cause heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, weak bones, nerve damage, low red blood cell count, cardiovascular disease, and even kidney failure.

Kidneys are so good at what they do, they can become significantly damaged before changes are noticed. It's important for people at risk for kidney disease to have tests done, because early detection is key to better outcomes.

Anyone with diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of kidney disease, older than 65, or with a history of acute kidney injury can be tested by a health care provider for blood creatinine level, urine protein, and blood pressure to check for signs of kidney damage. Levels of concern may indicate the need for an ultrasound or other testing.

Krystin Albert, Franklin VNA & Hospice’s director of homecare and hospice, said, "If you notice swelling in your face, blood in your urine or foamy urine, difficult or painful urination, you should contact your healthcare provider to find the cause because these can be some of the early symptoms that occur with kidney disease."

For more information, call Franklin VNA & Hospice at 603-934-3454 or visit FranklinVNA.org.

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