Dear Annie: I was just 18 years old when a routine doctor’s visit exposed off-the-chart high blood pressure and landed me in the emergency room. As a carefree teen in my first year of college, I felt healthy and assumed it couldn’t possibly be anything more than a little stress. Even the ER doctor took a look at me and said he was sure there couldn’t be anything wrong. Imagine the shock when the blood tests showed I had stage-four kidney disease. I was dangerously close to needing dialysis or a kidney transplant, but I had no clue that I’d been suffering from a silent killer.
Kidney disease often goes undetected because symptoms may not appear until the kidneys are actually failing. One in three American adults is at risk due to high blood pressure or diabetes, two of the leading causes. The good news is that early detection and proper treatment can slow the progress.