MACON, Ga. — According to the National Institute of Health, one in three Americans are at risk for kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time and symptoms may include tiredness, trouble sleeping, dry skin, and swollen feet or ankles.
Kenneth Soffold from Roberta was diagnosed with it before 2021. He says high blood pressure and not getting proper rest contributed to having the disease. However, he didn't feel any pain because of his eating habits.
"I mostly ate right... I drank a lot of water... didn't drink sodas. The main thing was I ate a good diet," said Soffold.
According to the National Institute of Health, chronic kidney disease affects more than one in seven U.S. adults, and nurse practitioner Heather Self says most people aren't even aware that they have kidney disease.
"The key is prevention and awareness, essentially. So, bringing awareness to the fact that kidney disease even exists when you can't feel it is probably the most important thing in preventing it from getting worse," said Self.
She recommends getting a kidney screening once a year to help lower the risk. High blood pressure and diabetes account for almost 75% of kidney disease cases.
"Our goal is to manage those. If we can manage those, we can prevent the kidneys from getting worse," said Self.
During National Kidney Month in March, Macon Medical Group will do free kidney screenings on Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.
On Feb. 6, 2021, Soffold's prayers were answered. He had a kidney transplant. He's good now and he likes to garden. He believes he got a second chance at life.
Soffold says being a kidney donor could save someone's life just like it did his.
You can learn more about kidney disease and being a living donor at kidney.org.