How Kidney Disease Affects Lower-Income Households
Research has shown connections between kidney diseases and income, citing lower-income families as higher-risk for these ailments. Today we’ll examine why this is the case, and what can be done about it.
The Kidney Connection
A study published in BMC Nephrology involved about 23,000 adults age 45 and older. These subjects were examined to see whether geographical and racial differences influenced their likelihood of end-stage renal disease, or ESRD.
The incidence of ERSD was about 178.8 per 100,000 persons per year in high-poverty counties, whereas higher income counties had an incidence of only 76.3 per 100,000 persons per year. The study found many kidney disease victims live in southeast U.S. The incidence of ESRD was also almost four times higher among people with incomes of less than $20,000 a year.
Who is Likely to Get Kidney Disease?
Many factors influence statistics like those found in the BMC Nephrology study, and in some cases economic struggle and kidney disease form a vicious cycle. People with kidney disease can’t work efficiently, and thus cannot hold jobs. They return home and may make lifestyle choices that aggravate existing kidney problems or lead to their onset.
Causes include dehydration and poor diets high in sugar, salt, and fat, which are common in southeast U.S. due to an emphasis on dishes prepared with butter, grease, and oil. Dehydration, or drinking too many sugary fluids and not enough water, can cause chronic kidney stones that may lead to more serious diseases such as renal failure. Other causes include family history, obesity, and a reliance on processed foods. Low income can influence all these factors to some degree.
What Can Be Done?
If you are a low-income family, you may be eligible for a food assistance program through your local Food Bank, which provides nutritious meals. Try to replace unhealthy foods with healthy choices. For example, replace corn and potatoes with leafy greens. Farmer’s markets are a good place to shop for inexpensive healthy foods. Drink plenty of water; most doctors recommend 6-8 glasses per day. Look for foods and drinks high in antioxidants such as: blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries.
Remember, if you’re taking any medications for kidney disease, and need help affording them, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free prescription discount card works, check out our video: wtree.us/video
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