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Silent Killers

There are two silent killers that threaten people’s health and the more you know about them, the better!

The first is high blood pressure. Unless people have their blood pressure checked, there’s no way to know that they have high blood pressure. Sometimes it manifests itself in headaches or a non-specific sense of feeling unwell. Most times, however, it’s discovered by routine blood pressure checks. The side effects of untreated high blood pressure are heart attack, stroke, brain hemorrhage, kidney failure and more. So it’s important for people to make sure their blood pressure is checked at least once a year, even if they’ve been healthy.

The second silent killer is kidney disease. Six million Americans suffer from end-stage renal disease, and another 26 million Americans have different stages of chronic kidney disease. The only way to diagnose early stages of kidney disease is through blood tests. The symptom of advanced stages of kidney disease is fatigue. At the start, patients may not be aware of this symptom because fatigue progresses with time, so much so that our bodies become used to being tired. Kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, excessive intake of anti-inflammatories, and many other things.

It’s smart to have kidney blood tests at least once a year, even if you have been healthy, and to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

High blood pressure and kidney disease are silent killers because you might not know you have them. When you visit your family doctor, you can learn more about these conditions.

 

By Salwa Labib, MD

Dr. Labib is a nephrologist with WWMG’s Nephrology Department.