When was the last time you saw someone with a bumper sticker showing their support for kidney disease sufferers, or an event whose proceeds will go to researching a cure for the disease? Probably never, right?

Although it doesn’t get the attention (or the funding) given to breast cancer or AIDS research, kidney disease kills more Americans per year than either of those two diseases. Treatment costs for end-stage kidney disease are sky-high, involving either dialysis or kidney transplant. Monetarily, that’s over five times the yearly cost of the average Medicare patient over 65.

The medical community has a lot of information about kidney disease, including who is most at risk for developing it and how it can be prevented or its progression slowed. However, it’s easy to not know you have kidney disease until it may be too late, since symptoms don’t show until it is in its advanced stages. Take the case of Duane Sunwold, a fifty-five-year-old culinary arts instructor. He didn’t know he had kidney problems until he went to the hospital for a blood pressure crisis and the physician assistant discovered high levels of protein in his urine due to a kidney problem. At the time he was 43 and had been receiving treatment for high blood pressure, the leading cause of kidney failure. However, his doctor had never checked to see how his kidneys were functioning!

Sadly this is not an isolated case or even a rare occurrence. In around three-fourths of patients with risk of poor kidney function, physicians fail to check for protein in the urine, a simple and inexpensive test. Fortunate for Duane Sunwold, lifestyle changes greatly lessened his risk factors, and his kidney function is now greatly improved. He now uses his culinary skills to offer tips and recipes online that promote good kidney health and also happen to be good for diabetics, weight control, and a healthy heart. Obesity, consuming lots of red and processed meats, sodium, and sugary drinks all contribute to developing kidney disease.

Read the entire article here: Kidney Disease, an Underestimated Killer