Home » Features

Kidney disease something you can live with

Submitted by Charles Newsom on October 3, 2011 – 9:17 am2 Comments

Senior mass communication major, Charles Newsom, lives with kidney disease, but he doesn’t let it get him down. Photo by Ricky Harris

Today, living with kidney disease is not as bad as it sounds. There is now a more independent dialysis method changing the perception of having kidney failure.

Peritoneal dialysis is a type of blood filtering that is done nightly at home while one sleeps. It is a process that gives you a certain independence to treat the disease yourself. You do have food restrictions, so you have to alter your life in some significant ways. But you can live with these minimal obstacles and pretty much live a normal life.

I am a 57-year-old kidney patient; I’m in pretty good shape. I’ve been going to school for two years with this disease. I’m pursuing my degree in Mass Communications, and I hope to obtain my bachelor’s degree in another year.

I have the support of my wife and family to help me get through, because when I was first diagnosed the initial shock was a bit overwhelming.

My symptoms first appeared as a tired feeling. At the age of 54 I didn’t think this was normal, so I went to consult my primary care physician. My vitals were taken and the results were not favorable. My creatinine, which is measured in a blood and urine test, was abnormally high. Over time my condition progressed and in a couple of years I became an end stage renal disease (ESRD) candidate.

I was referred to a kidney specialist and took a whole bunch of tests. I was expecting I could take some pills and I would be alright. But the doctor broke the news that my kidneys were slowly shutting down and not filtering.  My doctor recommended dialysis.

My physician presented me with two types of dialysis treatment. One was hemodialysis where a machine takes blood from the body, cleans it of waste and pumps it back into the body, a process that takes three to five hours and is usually needed three times a week. It usually takes place in a clinical setting. He then introduced me to peritoneal dialysis.

There are some restrictions with your diet such as avoiding processed foods. But with some changes you can lead a normal life. The disease and its treatment don’t involve a lot of pain.  In the past, kidney patients often mistakenly assumed dialysis would be painful because the procedure wasn’t explained well in the past. This has changed through clinical training and support to make dialysis easier.

I am one of the more than 89,000 American patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. These staggering statistics from the National Kidney Foundation are proof that kidney disease is a problem in the United States.  High blood pressure and diabetes affect some 26 million Americans. These two ailments alone have given more than 500,000 patients’ end-stage renal disease and 300,000 take some form of dialysis.

These are statistics that people should be aware of. Even though we as a society have learned to live with certain dilemmas such as disease. In the scope of public health, preventive medicine or preventive care could eliminate the staggering numbers presented on kidney disease. Early detection of high blood pressure and diabetes is an important key element to prevention. Preventive medicine would lead to a more healthy society.


  • Meal program says:

    To be able to eat healthy, you need to understand what the body needs to stay healthy and functional. Your body needs food for three main reasons. Firstly as fuel, to keep us warm and supply the energy we need to stay alive and to move about and work. Secondly, food supplies the necessary materials for growth and to repair worn tissues. Thirdly we need vitamins, minerals and other substances that are necessary for the chemical processes that take place inside our bodies.

  • Meal program says:

    The word diet conjures up ideas of food deprivation and that alone will keep people from losing necessary pounds. The thought of protein consumption has been considered effective and even in conjunction with a weight loss program an effective weight loss meal program using protein should help to banish the word diet from our vocabulary.