Blog
Feb 18
Blog: Kidney Disease

With this year’s Black History Month theme of “The Black Family,” now is a good time to encourage your family to explore and share your medical history. If you know that certain diseases run in your family, you can be better prepared to prevent or minimize their impact on your health and that of future generations.

Family HistoryFor example, if you have a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension), you could be at risk for serious conditions, such as heart or kidney diseases. Chronic kidney disease affects one out of every seven Americans. It occurs when your kidneys experience damage slowly, over time, not filtering blood properly and building up wastes in your body.  

The disease hits African American communities especially hard. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Health Information Center, “while African Americans make up about 13% of the population, they account for 35% of the people with kidney failure in the United States.” 

Dr. Rachid Daoui, Chief of Nephrology and Chair of the Saratoga Hospital Department of Medicine, is especially concerned with the prevention and management of hypertension and diabetes with his patients. 

“Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure among African Americans,” he says. “One of the most important steps you can take to prevent or manage kidney disease is to control your blood pressure. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and taking your medications as directed will not only help manage that goal but can also go a long way toward prevention of type 2 diabetes.” 

Dr. Daoui recommends working with your family to develop a complete history of health concerns to be shared with your primary care providers. Collect information about your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, siblings, and children to share with your primary care provider. 

Your doctor can use the information to look for patterns and help identify issues particular to you and your family. If needed, your doctor can refer you to a specialist, such as our Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Nephrology team, which focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions and diseases that affect kidney function, including CKD. Offices are located in Saratoga Springs, Malta, and Glens Falls

Learn more about protecting the health of you and your family through your family medical history on the Centers for Disease Control website. Generational health is one aspect among many to explore as we celebrate this year’s Black History Month theme. Learn the origins of Black History Month and more ways to celebrate here


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