TAMPA, Fla. — Here is a startling health statistic: One in seven people have chronic kidney disease and don't even know it.
“For me, it started when I was 23 years old and as with many patients, I did not know I had kidney disease,” said Maria Jimenez.
Jimenez only started receiving symptoms two weeks before she ended up in kidney failure.
Kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste, toxins and excess fluid from your body and kidney failure can be fatal.
“I went to the emergency room. They confirmed the diagnosis and I started dialysis right away at the hospital,” said Jimenez.
Thirty million Americans live with chronic kidney disease, which is more common in Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American populations.
“When you have chronic kidney disease, what happens is your kidneys are damaged and they don’t perform that job well which results, as you can imagine, in problems,” said Kathleen Belmonte, Chief Nursing Officer at Fresenius Medical Care North America.
There are five stages of kidney disease and in the early stages, most people don't even know they have it because there are no symptoms. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease.
“When you have those risk factors, it’s super, super important to be screened at least annually to make sure your kidneys are staying healthy and well,” said Belmonte.
There are, however, symptoms of late-stage kidney disease.
“Swelling in your legs and your hands, fatigue, nausea, headaches,” said Belmonte.
Jimenez was on dialysis for nine years before finally getting a transplant in 2017.
“It’s been working wonderful since then,” said Jimenez.