Suburban woman talks about what doctors call a ‘silent killer’ – NBC Chicago

Kidney disease can go unnoticed at an early stage, which is why the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois is in the midst of a year-long campaign to combat high rates of disease in Black, Hispanic and Asian communities. of State.

“Uncontrolled high blood pressure and diabetes are two of the leading causes of chronic kidney disease,” said Monica Fox, director of outreach for the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois.

The campaign includes partnering with communications organizations and deploying the foundation’s Mobile Screening Unit, a van equipped to provide free kidney screening to residents.

“Yesterday we did some screenings and two people were told they had diabetes and they had no idea they were diabetic,” Fox said.

Poor health can also prevent a person from becoming a living kidney donor. As of Wednesday, there were about 3,500 people on the kidney transplant waiting list in Illinois.

Muffy Clarkson, 61, is one of them.

“I’ve had 23 potential donors and for some reason they don’t pass the physical test. I had some who said they would donate and they changed their minds,” Clarkson said.

Seven years ago, Clarkson’s doctor discovered diminished kidney function during a routine medical exam, but Clarkson waited two years to see a specialist.

“By the time I got to the nephrologist, I was down to maybe 40 or 30 percent kidney function,” Clarkson said.

His kidney function dropped even more. Clarkson said she was on the verge of needing dialysis, but pushed it off by diving into exercise and healthy eating.

“Those old ragged kidneys. I fight. I fight it. I don’t want dialysis,” Clarkson said.

While Clarkson waits for a kidney donor, she wants others to learn from her mistakes.

” Do not wait. Don’t wait,” Clarkson said. “My kidney disease could be under control. I could be maybe 40% with the right meds, but I was so scared to go.

NBC Chicago

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