March 14, 2024

Healthy kidneys support overall good health

Kaiser Permanente excels in preventing, detecting, and treating kidney disease.

You can help keep your kidneys healthy by managing your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Kidneys keep your body in balance by removing waste products from your blood. They also help maintain blood pressure, bone density, and healthy levels of minerals.

Good kidney health is important for enjoying a long and healthy life.

“Many people aren’t aware of how central good kidney function is to overall health,” said Leo Pravoverov, MD, physician leader for Kaiser Permanente’s National Kidney Care Services. “If you take care of your kidneys, they’ll take care of you. We are dedicated to preventing and treating kidney diseases with early intervention and highly coordinated care.”

A common threat to good heath

Kidney disease is a leading cause of death in the United States.

Most cases of this ongoing health condition are due to diabetes and high blood pressure. One in 7 adults have kidney disease.

Managing your blood sugar and blood pressure can help you protect your kidneys.

Staying physically active and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods lower in sodium also help keep your kidneys healthy.

Early diagnosis and disease management

People with kidney disease often have no symptoms in the early stages. At Kaiser Permanente, our kidney care specialists work together with personal doctors to diagnose kidney disease early.

“We assess the risk of kidney disease for each member by analyzing their health record,” said Ali Poyan Mehr, MD, leader of quality for National Kidney Care Services. “This helps us provide patients with the right care and personalized education.”

Timely dialysis key to better outcomes

Kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease, is when the kidneys stop working.

Patients with kidney failure need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive. Dialysis replaces the blood-filtering role performed by the kidneys.

Our members with kidney failure get support from specialized care teams. Patients who need dialysis can choose to receive it at home or in a dialysis center.

When a patient receives dialysis early enough for the most benefit, it’s called “an optimal start.” Kaiser Permanente ranks in the top 5% for optimal starts in the U.S.

Ensuring patients get the transplants they need

Approximately 13 people in the U.S. die each day while waiting for a kidney transplant. At Kaiser Permanente, we’re working to ensure that every member who needs a kidney transplant can get it.

“We’re optimizing care for patients who need kidney transplants to reduce wait times,” said Maria Teresa Guadarrama, hospital and health plan leader for National Kidney Care Services. “Our goal is to provide transplant options sooner by expanding the network of high-quality kidney transplant institutions we work with.”

Learn more about kidney disease and kidney health.